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Indie Games in Brazil

# 3 - Maybe making the world around him a little more colorful

## Dropping SQLite for JSON serialization

After a long time of thinking about this, I finally decided to drop SQLite as the main database for my Action RPG engine. After a couple years of work on this project, I realized I couldn't work anymore with databases unless I had a good ORM to back it up. And honestly, it didn't seem worth the effort.

By using JSON serialization to handle the game project save data and configurations, we can now have a much cleaner data structure, that will also allow for easier customization in the future.

Since one of my main intentions with this engine is to work with local schools by offering game developing classes to kids, I think that this stuff should be as simple as it can get.

So JSON it is.

## Investing too much time in things of the past

The creation of a small fan game with RPG Maker XP was one of the things that helped me the most in learning the basic concepts of programming just before I entered college. Actually, messing around with RPG Maker since around 2002 had a big impact, even considering I never finished any games.

Recently I posted about coming back to the biggest project I had back then:

An rpg based on the universe of Harry Potter, with some of my own characters, mixed timelines, my own little fan-fiction in a gamey-stuff suit.

I have to be honest with you, that project was my best friend for a long time.

Trying to understand how would people move around the castle and interact with things. Trying to add cool little dialogs and easter eggs, hidden stuff all over the place that nobody would ever find because, you know, I never actually understood the needs of the players.

Looking at the game now, in an effort to translate it from portuguese to english, made me aware of a lot of stuff that I didn't actually understand back then. Knowing that I should give more instructions to the player, to avoid having so many rough edges on everything.

Of course, when playing an indie game you expect to find things that are not completely polished, but there is a line, and when you create something that means a lot to you, that line moves around a lot. I would obssess over many things, recreate maps, rewrite dialogs, move things around, knowing that the result was not nearly good enough to match my expectations.

But I knew deep down that once I was done with translating, I should just let it go.

Honestly, I keep thinking to myself that if I let this one project from 10 years ago keep draining my energy (don't take me wrong, I love working on it) I won't make anything else. I won't try different themes, different styles.

So, when is it too much? When are you too invested in something from the past, and should focus on the future?

## Translating an old game to English

Hello guys,

I have been working on translating my first game project, started 10 years ago, to english.

I would really like to have you guys check it out, I have created a game jolt page for it, will link it below.

A post had already been made once talking about how this project had a huge influence on my progress as a programmer, and I can't even begin to describe the importance of working on rpgmaker projects as a teenager. This was certainly one of the most important steps I took in order to learn about the basics of coding.

Well, I would like you guys to see it, so please check below.

http://gamejolt.com/games/walpurgis-the-return-of-the-lord/125160

## Open sourcing my projects and blogging again

Hello guys!

I'm slowly returning to writing small articles and doing small modifications to my projects, and as a first step I decided to start releasing stuff I create on github.

So the first piece of code I'll release will be the brazuca project I did in a small 48h marathon because of boredom, that ended up being a cute little pet project of mine. It's weird to realize now that this happened 2 years ago!

https://github.com/arthursouza/brazuca

## Flickering overlapping objects - Common bug

I have recently been playing Don't starve, and have come to find a common bug that happens in many 2d games. It's something a little hard to come by when test developing.

Sometimes, two objects that slightly overlap have a flickering effect. This happens because one object is being drawn in front of the other at a time.

The common cause for this is the sprite sorting behavior not having a fixed decision for when two objects have the same sorting variable.

Let's assume whats usual, that you are using your Y value, vertical position, as the means to sort what object is in the front. When two objects have the same Y value, you have to take a decisive action to make sure that every time the sorting is called, the same result will be wielded.

Assume that:A.Position = { x:5, y = 10}B.Position = { x.7, y = 10}
And your sorting method is:function sort(obj a, obj b){ return a.Y > b.Y;}
The result of the sorting based on Y will basically be decided on what object you first passed into the function. This may cause flickering.

In this case, you have to setup a second decision variable. My recommendation is to simply, if both Y values are equal, use the X value to decide what object is drawn first. I may post an example showing the bug and the fix.

## Getting back on Brazuca

What's up guys. I have been working again on the little football (soccer) game I have developed on a marathon a while ago. I really like the game, and I have already posted it. I'm reworking graphics and will get back to fixing some gameplay stuff and adding more content to it.

You guys can get it via dropbox, here:

It requires .net framework 4 and xna 4, the installer is supposed to install them, if you dont have them. If this does not work, tell me please.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/oxkymrtlwfxvig1/Brazuca%20Setup.zip

## Brazuca, second release

Heya guys, if you downloaded the small game I made on a 48h "marathon", I'm releasing a second version now. It has a little more stuff to it, it's still really small. I would really love to hear what you have to say about this current pet project.

(Requires XNA and .net framework 4.0)

Open GL + .net version coming tomorrow if anyone cares about that, since there were more downloads of the opengl version.

Any game breaking bugs or weird stuff, suggestions, anything, just drop a message and I'll work on it asap.

## Brazuca - 48 hours later

Hey guys. So, late saturday night I decided to make a small game on the next 48 hours. It would be a simple soccer simulator, something I have never done before, but that I really like. Wanted to pull off something simple but fun to play. I actually ended the development last night, so it was actually more like 24 hours than 48 hours, but I wanted to post here anyways, because the "deadline" I set was 48 hours, which ended 1 and a half hour ago.

So, I made this using XNA 4.0. I already have some experience with XNA, so it was all pretty easy. I drew some basic images that I would use without animations and everything was pretty simple.

I want to keep working on this for a while, adding more features other than actually playing, like evolving your character, saving and loading, leagues, and all that stuff.

I have been also wanting to test monogame and decided this would be a good moment to try it out, so I made this MonoGame OpenGL version:
In the end I'm happy to have made something fun in this period and will probably keep working on it. Now I'm thinking about a platformer.

#Update

You can get the newest version here: ~ Requires XNA and .net framework 4.0, MONOGAME VERSION COMING SOON!
http://www.mediafire.com/?fnej1nq4f3ub777

Also check out my most recent entry:
https://www.gamedev.net/blog/1480/entry-2256628-brazuca-second-release/

## Brazuca Update 3

SOOOO... I have a goalkeeper that will be just going after the ball like crazy when it is close enough, some players scattered around the field that don't do anything yet, and currently working on the game simulation!
The matches will last around 60 seconds. And the game will simulate what happens, when your team or the opposing team does something, and this will also decide when you have chances of trying to shoot or pass the ball around. These will have fixed chances of happening for now, but during the day I hope to change that to be according to how much your team trusts you, how good you are, how good your team is and how good the opposing team is. For now I won't leave you guys with a screenshot, but tonight I'm almost 100% that I'll post something downloadable here!

This has been fun, but now I have a really crappy headache.

See you guys.

## Brazuca Update

I put a little more work today on the soccer simulator I'm working on this 48 hour period. I have not reached the 24h mark yet, and I will start to work on players now!

The first added player will be the goal keeper, and he will just react to kicks and try to get the ball away.

What I have so far:
Kick the ball, add force and a direction
Kick the ball (2) define exactly what part of the ball to hit
Ball kicked -> The ball will go up in the air, high or not so high, depending on where you kicked, will spin and get some effects on the air.
The ball may go above the goal, as I'm now considering height, which will also help with allowing oponents to head it away.

It still looks like crap, and that part I wont really worry about until its done. Just want to finish it. :P

## Working on it - Brazuca

I have been working on the mini soccer game I mentioned on the last post. So far we get 2 different screens. You have the ball placed on the field, and you set the power and general direction you will kick in. Then you get a closer look at the ball, and you click on exactly where you mean to hit the ball, to add a spin to it. Then the game switches back to the general view and the ball goes on until it leaves the field or stops moving.

Now what I'm trying to work on is to get the ball to look like its high in the air. I'm not sure about how im going to do that, because I can't have the ball higher and end up messing the detection on wether it has left the field or entered the goal! Also, that will be important as I have to be able to pass the ball above other players so they can't head it.

## Making Boredom Useful - 48h mini game jam

Hey guys, this is the kind of idea thats good to have on a friday night when you're not going out. I have decided to create a small game on the next 48 hours.

It will be a soccer simulator called Brazuca 2013, and I WILL release whatever is created after these 48 hours.

This is a small fun project, as I have been spending all my time on the development of Lotus, but the last couple of days have been of pure stress due to computer issues, so, to release this stress, and since I'm home for the weekend, nothing better than a game dev marathon!

I will be back soon to give you guys some updates. Wish me luck.

## This road seems too long and too dark

Working on an indie project is a combination of really powerfull emotions.

I have been developing web applications professionally for the last 4 years. I'm 23, and graduated from college at 21, so I was working in college. In my last job, I didn't have much work to do, and it got boring fast. I spent most of my last months of employment wondering how good would it be to be sent home, got paid, and being able to work full time on my game for a few months.

Well, that happened 1 month ago. I was sent home and moved back with my parents to reduce my costs. With some money in the bank to live and invest in my game, and free time, I thought that this was my chance.

The project of Lotus started in 2008, when I was chatting with 2 friends I had known for the last 8 years and we decided to make this game. I was the only one that knew any programming and that knew how to actually create games. But I still had a really long way to go.

Cutting to nowadays, I have some experience, and have created an engine with my own hands, with several cool tools I can use, I have some money to fund the game and free time to invest.

But sometimes I do not feel like it can be done. Because I'm with this project for the last 5 years, and only on the last 2 years it actually became a real job. The problem, I see, and don't take me the wrong way, is that I have taken upon myself a big project, and teamed with 2 friends that couldn't actually contribute to the project in anyways other than having ideas. It's not their fault, the skillset is just missing, we can brainstorm stuff, they can help me solve conceptual issues, but I have to actually do the work. And it's hard.

I write stories, create names, draw maps, think about geography, politics, character interaction, character personality, work on the engine, contact artists, think about how to spend this money wisely, study game design, study what went right with other indie projects, what went wrong with other indie projects, but on the end of the day, things just get really depressing.

Its a really dark place out there when you have something you are really passionate about, and you feel like you have to walk that path by yourself.

## A simpler style

Hey guys! How long has it been since I dropped something here, right?

We have decided some time ago to follow a more cartoonish style to our art, since this way we could exaggerate some things that wouldn't match a realistic style.

What do you guys think about this cartoonish concept art for our tribal hunter? This is not the final form, since the character seems way younger on this concept and we will keep working on this.

Coming soon!

• Reworked bard concept.
• Tribal hunter animations.

# Game Art

Hey guys! We have been working with 3d artist William Hennes on the character animations and I'm here to show you guys some simple animations of the tribal hunter.

But at the same time we decided to change the art style direction to something more cartoonish, to add some fun visual elements, because everything seemed a little closer to the realistic side.

Anyways, sharing some animations so you guys will get a feel of the quality of the work we're trying to put on this project, hope to be able to bring something new to you guys soon!

# Suggestions?

I would also like to hear about what are you guys interested in hearing about? Suggestions for posts, please!

## Now on IndieDB

Just a small message to you guys:

Now you guys can follow the project on IndieDB! This will be a small boost to the visibility of the game.

http://www.indiedb.com/games/lotus-tales-the-lost-ones/

Hopefully this can be another step for us to move forward!

## Rhamka Tribal Warrior - Inicial Sketches

The Rhamka is a civilization that lives on open lands with very few resources. They are slightly based on african tribes.

Due to the lack of resources, technology didn't manage to develop a lot on this region, but science and knowledge of how the universe works are just as advanced as on ancient egypt. The tribal hunter will be the most resistant and physically powerful character on the game. Even without wearing any armor, they are tall, strong, agile and wise. This is a brief description:

The Tribal is a symbol of wild power. Skillful hunters, they grow up fighting the worlds most feared creatures. They are on the top of the food chain, and you can see it.

Carrying on their bodies marks that represent their abilities, the war paitings can distinguish mere mortals from savanna legends. A wise and experienced warrior will use the paintings on his body to bring to battle the power of wild creatures. The spear is their main weapon, with battle knifes always ready when a clean cut is needed.

Tribal hunters don't use any sort of armor. They are proud to show their scars, proof of the rough life of a savanna warrior.

## Bard

The bard concept is advancing, this is one of the last tests, with some colors, soon you guys will see the full concept.

I have started to discuss the character sprite style and bard concept with William Hennes, and hopefully will have something to show you guys soon.

I'm also working on the game title. Since Lotus is not something that by itself I'll be able to register, I'm thinking about something of a subtitle.

The first thing that popped to my mind was: "Lotus: The will of the gods", and it matches the lore, as the game is basically about faith and looking for meaning in life, through the eyes of several characters. Well, we will see how this turns out!

Stay tuned!

## Concept Art Sketches

The amazing Seta [http://lastdove.daportfolio.com/] is our Concept Artist. She is currently working on Dio, the bard. These are a few sketches of different interpretations of who is Dio.

[attachment=12286:dio-sketch - Copia.jpg]

Dio is a bard from the lands of Ternes.

The Ternesians are great warriors, but with a strong political and artistic focus.

Bards are not warriors, they are adventurers that pass the knowledge of their ancients forward by telling, singing and writing stories.

Dio is approaching his 40th birthday, he is a slim and not very tall man. The lines of his face and his sun burned skin would make you believe he is much older. A not very long beard and the long hair of an aged man. You would expect him to have stories to tell. None of them particularly cheerful. Always carrying his harp and some parchments, some blank, some with stories, songs and information of sorts.

## Artistic Style

What to expect from the graphics of Lotus?

We want to provide an experience that is complemented by the game art. I believe that there is a feeling on 2D art that pulls the gamer inside the game world. There are several games that we look up to as inspiration regarding this feeling that the art gives you, and we will post some of them here today:

Bastion

Okami

Wakfu

Outland

____________________________

We expect to be able to show you guys some awesome concept art by the great artist Seta soon! Stay tuned.

## Engine Test - Small Update

If you downloaded the engine test from the last post, please, drop me some feedback! I will greatly appreciate every moment you spend playing it, hahahaha.

If you still haven't downloaded it, you can get it through mediafire, here:

- Added target marking on the NPC as you hover to help indicating how to interact.
- Added a tooltip on the inventory window telling the player to interact by double clicking left.
- Added some extra item information on the inventory.
- Added damage variation depending on weapon type.
- Changed pathfinding to avoid zigzagging and losing time, but this made the character turn really fast sometimes, still needs work.

I'm currently working in finishing the translation and creating an input configuration window.

Thanks for trying it, I'm really happy about the results!

See you!

Hey guys!