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Mostly technical ramblings through the years of indie game development

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EDI

96 MILL Released!

We've been hard at work on a new, horror themed game for Halloween. This journey has taken just over 3 months of constant work, and it's finally ready. The old mill is now available to be explored; Get it now at 25% off for a special launch sale.

Learn more and play at: https://edigames.com/app/96Mill

EDI

96 Mill Nearing Completion

Greetings All,

Just wanted to mention that 96 Mill is nearing the end of it's beta phase, and will be out for release soon!

If folks are looking for a last minute beta peek, please message me today or tomorrow (Friday) with an email address.


Feels good to be near the release phase!

EDI

"In EDI Games' upcoming 96 Mill, players are sent in to assist a demolitions expert in bringing down a building with a troubled history of scandal and mysterious disappearances. What could go wrong? If you're an adventure gamer (and you are), here's hoping the answer is "plenty!" when the new horror adventure from the creator of STATIC: Investigator Training is released this fall."

Full story at AdventureGamers.com

EDI

96Mill Testers Wanted

Greetings All,

Interested in alpha/beta testing our upcoming game 96Mill?

We have several slots open, just message me with your email address.

And I'll send along a beta key.

(email address is used for key recovery and communications relating to the game or platform)

EDI

Greetings All,

It's been a good three weeks, and things are finally at a point where I can start talking about them.

First things first:

Revel Immortal

Revel is at an interesting (good interesting) spot right now; we've made all of the changes and porting that we set out to accomplish Jan 1.

This doesn't mean it is 'done' by any stretch, however while still in Alpha it is looking pretty decent; and though we're not planning to popularize it at this point, the new version of Revel should be going live sometime this evening (eastern time).

the 'play now' link for revel on http://edigames.com/ will be updated (it currently points to the old version)

For those following Revel this is a great chance to have a look and send in some feedback.

96 Mill

Those of you who have followed our developments closely, will remember our 2009 title STATIC: Investigator Training.

You could certainly say it stands out among our other games, being an FMV horror adventure.

But there are some noteworthy aspects of StaticIT


  • it was made in three months, design, casting, filming, implementation, testing
  • it was our shortest game
  • the tooling was already developed before the game was started
  • the game was fully designed before development started
  • it has sold the least amount of units of our other games (though its catching up to Malathedra)
  • despite this, it has been our most profitable product
    That last item might be somewhat confusing, but it has everything to do with just how much time an energy goes into a product.


    And while I'm not really all about splitting hairs in terms of revenue and profitability; there comes a point where the development time investment grows to a degree that you're never going to see anything resembling a profit.

    Much like code, the less code the fewer bugs; it doesn't matter how good the code is.

    So that brings us to the next six months.

    We've been planning, since roughly this time last year to do two games, each with three month development schedules; like Static.

    The first of these two games is 96 Mill, a first person horror adventure.

    We have a development cycle spanning July 1 through Oct 1; and I am happy to say, even only two weeks in we're ahead of schedule, with all locations having been photographed.

    Here is a bit more about 96 Mill, but you can expect to hear more about it on our facebook page.


    "HDC (Hamilton Demolition Company) Limited, contracted by the city to deliver a demolition plan of the infamous Edmont Worsted Industrial Complex; former site of the Unified Electric Corporation (UEC), and before it the Edmont Worsted Company, constructed in 1820; with a 1920 brick addition; utterly abandoned in 1996 and decaying for twenty years.

    Strictly off limits to the public for reasons of health and safety, HDC has sent in lead engineer and demolition specialist Frank Galvani; and you (the player) have been tasked to assist him in documenting the structure and rigging it for implosion.

    At around 500,000 square feet, the complex is massive; spanning four floors in the main building, and a 5th floor tower.

    Through its history the site has been plagued by strange, or unexplained happenings, and Disappearances, before its closure alongside the liquidation of UEC in 1986.

    Alleged pollution of the abutting Peter's River, via industrial waste (developer, pcb's etc.); brought an EPA investigation that ultimately sent several UEC executives to prison.

    Disappearances of employees beforehand and during this investigation are alleged to be foul play; but extensive search recovered no bodies; and locals seems to suspect something darker and keep clear of the building.

    In 1996 a small portion of the building was partially destroyed by fire, arson was assumed, but inspection by firefighters of the building proved dangerous and caused the mayor to issue a standing order of 'do-not-enter' for all police and firefighters less life be at stake.

    Despite such orders, and especially due to its dilapidated 'spooky' nature; various paranormal groups and investigators have conducted illegal trespass and collected evidence and personal accounts.

    Such 'evidence' has been non conclusive."

EDI

Update

Dang, I can't keep a journal to save my life!

Well hopefully some folks are subscribed to our Facebook group, it details more regular, though less in-depth happenings.

So notably, end of May through June 16th I was away, a bit of business, and a lot of fun; trying to get in a few weeks of vacation.

Though I wasn't completely idle on gamedev during that period; I produced and submitted Morning's Wrath 1.4, Release Candidate (RC) 7

Hopefully someday our publisher will get that added to steam, it has some serious improvements over the current version (1.3) which has been the only release since roughly '06

Hopefully soon this version can be purchased standalone on our site, and we'll provide the update for free, for any past purchasers (just drop an email to raymond@edigames.com with full name and purchase details).

As for Revel, we've been working to get more systems implemented and 'draw' everything together, in hopes of a near term version update.

I've laid out an internal development schedule that is very aggressive, in hopes that it will really spur some action; I guess we'll see.

EDI

A bit more on change

Let's start with a new screenshot, showing some of the 'human/male' graphics I did over the weekend; and the new 'name ribbons' for portraits.

p3WqvH3.jpg

Images aside, I wanted to formally touch upon why I've chosen this new graphical and gameplay style for Revel Immortal.

It can really be boiled down to content being too 'expensive' to create that is, too time consuming for the benefit; as well as several of the systems pertaining to that content being significantly flawed.

In late December we basically did a half-year evaluation of how much progress we made with content creation in the old system.

We found that the majority of our time was going to developing the isometric environments; and very specific systems and technical issues pertaining to that (sorting, occlusion, lighting, portals, interior dissolves, performance, etc.)

The result was, a lot of time spent and not a lot of content created; basically not getting much closer to people playing and enjoying Revel Immortal in its current form.

...and for all that time and effort, play-quality was not really exceptional; a number of systems (npc dialogue, equipment, quests) were quite good, but other things (isometric interactions, control scheme, combat, character size) were not very good at all.

To make matters worse, our progress should have had a significant jump-start, as we re-used practically all the environments from existing Morning's Wrath; in hind-sight this did give us a boost, but once we encountered the challenge of making new locations from scratch (notably the Garranshall marketplace) productivity was horrible, with an estimation of maps/locations taking months to potentially complete graphically and functionally.

In short things were not good; for a very key part of the game, it was too hard to author, and the results weren't very good.

Technical issues, limitations of HTML5 and 2D engines; all the usual suspects, depth sorting, behind wall occlusion, lighting; really limited our ability to solve these problems as well.

Naturally they could be solved; there are plenty of excellent 2D Isometric RPGs, but could we solve them? in reasonable time?

We rightly received harsh criticism for control aspects of Morning's Wrath, (and Malathedra, AND Static) and I saw that becoming a repeat issue, which I felt was not acceptable.

All of this evidence forced me to take a really hard look at what we've been doing, and how we can change things to get things moving a lot faster; and showcase what really matters in Revel; that is, the story, quests, exploration, combat, equipment/item management, character progression.

Building 'vast' isometric maps felt like the right thing to work on at the time; but wasn't getting us there.

Faced with potentially calling it 'quits' on the project (which for those keeping track, has technically been in the works in various forms for about 6 years (8 in the absolute, but i technically did not do game development for about 2 years during this time), that's 1 more year than it took to write Morning's Wrath from concept to ship) I opted instead for drastic measures.

I had identified the major aspects that were giving us trouble; and now I was desperate enough to go ahead and act on those issues in a way that I haven't dared to before.

The plan?


  • Drop all of the isometric areas
  • Use single image backgrounds instead
  • Have a single large overland map of graph connected locations
  • Have pc/npc/enemies use dynamic portraiture
  • Have battle play out in a 'planner' type mode (think FTL-ish)
  • Keep all the existing content, quests, npcs, etc. all the good stuff that works
  • Make the changes fast and get moving.


    Its a gamble, but so far; in terms of performance, it is working; the result was overwhelmingly a 'technical shed' removing tons of complexity.

    Two months in, and we're essentially back where we left off; which is a great turnaround time, given that previous revamps have taken roughly a year.

    It is clear that while I was able to recognize the need to revamp and cut, I simply did not cut deep enough.

    It has been clear to me since I released Morning's Wrath, that it needed, and was going to get a sequel.

    Hopefully I've set things on a path towards real productivity.

    Look forward to more regular content in the near future.

    All questions are welcome in the comments below.

EDI

Greetings all,

It's been roughly a month since my last update; though I've been giving detailed updates via the edigames Facebook page, mostly weekly; mostly uninteresting.


While I didn't mention it in my last post; it has been necessary to modify the format or 'style' of Revel Immortal, such that the content creation is doable ...and when I say doable, I mean doable by me *looks around* cause that's who is actually doing the designing, rendering, coding, writing and integration.

Some of you might remember there was a large revamp, around April '14 which lasted through Dec. '15; it was both revamp and new content creation; but that span of time, and the content that was able to created during that time was simply not sustainable.

There were also several problems with the technical aspects of the design (controls, character size, etc.) but I won't go into detail on that, since it really doesn't matter.

The real killer was that the effort required to author content for Revel in that form, was simply too much effort; if I ever hope to see it finished (hopefully no one is keeping count).

Since a large revamp was done already, there was really only one solution, a much more drastic revamp; one which I don't think I'd have even considered some years ago.

In any event, I'm not going to explain most of the changes; I'd like them to speak for themselves via video or animated gif as they become finished; however, I will show this, still very early screen cap, that shows a few of the new aspects.

Naturally this is a dev wip screenshot, you know the drill.

1vNvcAr.jpg

EDI

I'm not dead...

Though it depends on your definition of dead, in some ways I might as well be.

Content? There's been a startling lack of it.

Why? Life as an employed 32 year old husband and property owner ...and probably some general laziness.

So yeah, sorry, progress has been very slow; I am working on Revel Immortal; as like any game project it would like nothing more than bleed every drop of life from me ...and Revel is a very ambitious project.

In closing, if you're still reading this, thanks!

-Raymond

EDI

Update 7/6

Hello All,

Just got back from a trip to Chicago; I highly recommend Lou Malnatti's deep dish pizza; should anyone get the opportunity!


Progress:

So progress has been singularly focused on finishing my office space; as I've said before, it is a big job, but I can thankfully say as of right now I am doing final sanding and priming of the drywall.

Still a lot to be done; but now is a good time to do it, summer is slow and non-productive for me in game development anyway.

I am getting the itch to get back on to Revel; but I know I have to see the finishing of the office space through.
EDI

Update 6/16

Greetings All,

Time for a bit of an update.

Not much progress on Revel; I am doing a good job of taking the summer off from it.

...but tons of work in other areas.

My previously mentioned open source project 'object model serializer' is now in fairly complete and stable condition; I am looking for some real world test cases to help make it better; if anyone is interested, do please let me know.

The vast majority of my work recently has been the finishing of my office space; sadly it takes a lot of work and time, as well as any software project.

Hopefully that will close out in a month or so.

In about two weeks we'll find ourselves in July, summer in full swing; no doubt side projects will prevail through then and into August.

-Raymond
EDI
Greetings All,

Part of our summer project plans are to get some older projects onto GitHub with free permissive licenses for both private and commercial works (Currently we are using MIT license).

Our first offering is something I've wanted to see become a common library for a long time.

Serialization of object models in C++

...that is an easier route to save game files for complex game states;

without having to understand the nitty gritty of object model serialization techniques.

https://github.com/edigames/object-model-serializer

First off, there are better known, more complete (at least as of this writing), and far more complex implementations out there.


But a key element for us was to adhere to a few guiding principles:

  • It should be tiny (2 files)
  • It should be non-intrusive, procedural style no base class inheritance requirements
  • It should internally handle references and cycles ("saving pointers")
  • It should be 'soft serialization' ability to add/remove and out-of-order members without 'version blocks'
  • It should come with a complex use case example (see simple_rpg folder)
  • It should use standard streams, for file and in-memory serialization.
  • It should be a lightweight binary format (soft serialization is 'easy' in something like json/xml)
  • It should not use external pre-processor, or code generation techniques (gross.)

    Some future goals...

    • It should be endian/architechture agnostic (this should be relatively simple)
    • Higher level interfaces should be optional to reduce syntax and mundane routines

      It is still a work in progress, but I have overcome a sticking point which made me question feasibility (without excessive overhead), such that I now feel it is ready for folks to have a look and even begin using.

      I ask everyone willing to have a look, comment, rant, contibute etc.

      Problems, specifically in usage will be addressed as quickly as possible.
EDI

Update 6/3/15

Greetings All,

Time for an update!


As I said in an earlier post I am technically 'off' from EDIGames until autumn rolls around.


...that being said, this is sure some busy time-off.


In addition to the usual necessities of life, I've been doing a bit of work finishing up my new office space; drywall, tape and mud; that sort of thing.

I'm very excited as this will hopefully be my first space where I set up a semblance of... culture; with a bookcase or two displaying some of my favorite reference; and maybe a case to display our magazine article and first copy Morning's Wrath.


Nesting aside a good bit of technical work has been under way.


We have a new, but still a bit WiP website at http://edigames.com

Still keeping with the one-page site for simplicity, this one is based on a template however that is better for mobile devices and wont be penalized by the new google indexing criteria.

We're still working (currently in testing) on the steam release of Morning's Wrath; again with StrategyFirst

I'm pretty excited about this release (designated 1.4 at the moment) because we chopped the entire antiquated back-end (D3D8, DSound, etc.) and the Win32API in exchange for SDL2.

This means we're seeing a big performance increase with their much better sprite batching system; and not having to support a lot of bygone video hardware that can only do 256x256 textures.

Another big improvement is support for widescreen displays.


Revel Immortal has gotten a bit more content; and we are working down the bug list; currently for technical features.

We're overdue on a release, but I'd like to make sure this next one is a bit more worthwhile.



We've created a proof of concept for getting our HTML5 based games (Revel, and the foreseeable future) on Steam; and so far it has passed muster with our Steam rep. we'll have to see what further testing proves.

I've been investigating three.js a bit as part of two new projects that will hopefully be announced in Autumn; longer term goals but pretty exciting prospects.


Well I think that is all for now, keep an eye out for new content soon!

-Raymond
EDI
Greetings All!

So, Revel Immortal v24 is now live; only a couple small fixes, hopefully more to come soon.


The reason for the 'light & late' update (our last update was about a month ago); was that I spent two weeks on vacation in Orlando FL, with my lovely wife doing 'absolutely nothing'.

As I've posted previously I like to take about 2 months per year 'off' of edigames to decompress and get some perspective.

This year, I will be taking the majority of the summer 'off' though not completely. Revel will still be getting updates and there are a few other projects that need my attention; such as getting our technology ready to allow HTML5 games to run via Steam.

Past years' data reflects that I don't get much done during the summer months, even if I try 'really, really hard'. So instead of that being a continued fact, and then taking additional time off during my normally productive season (usually fall) I will be fully set to start in the fall.


There is lots to be done, and lots of great potential, so we'll see how the coming weeks unfold; I'll do my best to keep updates regular.



-Raymond
EDI
revelimmortal.png


Greetings All,

As the title says, Revel Immortal v23 alpha is now live; it addresses a handful of issues found in v22 and adds a few small features.

As always you can find it here: http://edigames.com/revelimmortal

I would like the highlight the developer feedback button; which appears as a speech bubble on the gameplay screen; this is an easy way to deliver your feedback to us in the heat of the moment while playing.

Simply click it, type your feedback and click send; all such feedback is anonymous and will be used only for improving the game.


Without further a-do, here is the change-log:

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Create Developer Feedback button (

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) - resolved.

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speaking with Elgar results in crash. (

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create room announcment animation (

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) - resolved.

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choosing aullianis from travel map causes crash (

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modify talkUI for a better look and the start of portraiture (

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unify/cleanup code for common title bars, close buttons and under-tab buttons (

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collide player against npcs (

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