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Dev log about our current projects.

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Music Themes

Music themes

Hi,

Good news, the first music themes are available for you to listen !
They are composed by Rowan who joined us few month ago:

avatar3.png
Rowan Sgarlata

Role: Compositor, Sound Designer.
Description: Currently living in Melbourne, Australia, having a bachelor in digital and interactive media scoring. Inspiration mainly comes from Nobuo Uematsu who composed the Final Fantasy Series. Currently composing for video games, tv shows and films. My Soundcloud.


PANTLESS HERO OST
This is the Pantless Hero OST playlist that will be updated when we have more tracks.

I will talk about the different tracks.

THE STORY BEGINS
This is the main theme (or game title theme). It will be used in the intro sequence of the game and in the trailers. We want the music to represent the hero at the entrance of the cave who's going to face unknown dangers and mysteries to get back his stolen pants. We chose a rock style to emphasize the dynamism and violence of the game as well as death ('cause the game is hard).

CAVE OF MYSTERY
This is the main ambiant theme, played during exploration phases.

CURIOUS GOODS
This one is the goblin merchants' theme who are very malicious.

TENSION IN THE AIR
That track is for challenging moments and fights.

TROLL KILLER
And lastly the boss theme.

- - -

Give us your opinion!

New trolls

We got new troll models, (we never communicated about it here) with the a fresh one finished at the moment, the pyromaniac.

1453479800-newtrolls-test3.png

Each of them is unique (except the random) and is considered like a mini-boss before the final boss that is the chief troll (not designed yet).
So they all have different specificities, they have different attacks and competences when the player fight them.
They are located in their own area where they live their lives. They are literally blocking the way, you have to beat them to continue and progress.

This is the old model, not good enough, especially the stance:

1453476178-oldspritesheet-troll.png

Forge and Hub

(Written by Yukishi pixel artist at Caldera Games)
I worked on the forge, an important element during the player's progression in the game as it is the first hub he will encounter on his way.
First I must explain the functionality of the normal bonfires that you can find at some places of the map. If you light a bonfire with a bloody wood, a consumable item that you gather, it activates a re-spawn point for when you die and other functionalities. This is a strategic exploration aspect of the game where it is up to you to spend the limited resources in order establish your camp at a bonfire.

In summary, the forge acts like a bonfire but of greater importance and functionalities.
It is a zone that will unlock one by one functionalities all around. For example, the neutral goblins that you can unlock which propose all sort of services, access to fast travel (mine carts on rails) to travel more easily to far places that you already unlocked.
And finally the possibility to magically forge the runes on your axe to obtain bonuses, you can find the runes in the dungeons, but that will be for an other devlog.

Here is the beast :
forge_mockupp.gif
(This is just a mock-up, in game it will have more depth and elements as well as a bunch of particles)

It took me about 20 hours to complete it.
You can notice the fantasy shape that reference the head of a dwarf with his metal helmet and stone beard, the forge is in bad shape because the mine has been abandoned for a long time, left at the mercy of the local monsters.
Generally, for pixel art I just use the mouse with photoshop and rarely use a graphic tablet since the elements are small and more or less rectilinear. But here it was impossible without drawing a sketch on paper before, to define the structure.
Don't mine this ugly thing, I then drew over it digitally with photoshop.
001-300x240.png

See you next time for more updates !

~ Yukishi

Updates

Hi,

Long time no post here!

The game is still in development, we've been looking for a 2D animator for a while and we finally found one. On my side I'm doing a lot of code refactoring, switching from an inheritance entity system, to entity component system (with artemis-odb). The music themes are also almost finished, they should be ready next week.
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We improved the look of the flames for the bonfires and torches:[/background]

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bonfire.gif[/background]

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[background=rgb(250,251,252)]

This is the forge for the hub of Pantless Hero, it will be the central place of the world where the player can travel far places (with a mine cart on rails).
3oxRmxYEQ1xpnrSCeA.gif[/background]

[/font][/color]
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[background=rgb(250,251,252)]
And the 2D animator (Nexus) who recently joined the team was able to improve and finish the hero's attacks animations:[/background]

[/font][/color]
xTcnTjz32xKO97IaTm.gif

We decided (after few remarks) to update our graphic elements (tile set + other textures), we originally made the game based on 16x16 tiles that we then scale x2 to have 32x32 tiles (that was looking better than 16x16 tiles for the proportion of the of the main character).
We talked about that update a long time ago but we always pushed it back (bad idea), but finally Yukishi rushed it in 60h straight (I think the fact that his internet connection was down was a big help to keep focus on it hehe).
We are really happy of the result, it's more homogeneous with the other elements of the game and Yukishi can express himself better.
We updated all our screenshots: http://caldera-games.com/media/
And here is a comparison:
revamp.png
I'm going to talk here about how you fight in Pantless Hero. We wanted to implement a combat system where it is not enough to mash the attack button to win over an enemy. Firstly, because we think challenging games are more fun and secondly, because it is more interesting to implement (code wise).

The hero is using a war axe, so it's heavy to manipulate, we imagine it as using a lot of energy to hit a target. In the game every attack and movement (sprint and dodge) uses stamina to be executed, so managing your stamina bar is a very important part of the gameplay.

Here is the complete offensive and defensive move set:
(The animations presented here are not the final outputs, it still needs improvements)
moveset.gif
In order, dodge (left/right), parry, attack crouch, attack jump, 3 attacks combo and throwing dagger (+ heavy attack which is not yet done).

OFFENSIVE

Each attack uses a different amount of stamina, makes different damage, they also have different timing. The attack that causes the most damages is the 3 attacks combo, it's a chain of 3 attacks that needs the right timing to be executed. The interesting thing about this combo is that the first attack (the regular attack) uses more stamina than the 2 other attacks of the combo while the damages of the attacks increase gradually. So it's more efficient to use the combo rather than just the regular attack.

To execute a combo you need the right timing. The way it works is that after pressing the attack button you need to wait for your attack to reach a certain percent of completion before to hit the attack button again else it will break the combo. After the first attack you have to wait 50% and above (in this case the axe is almost horizontal), after the second attack you have to wait 65% and above to perform the last attack.

Another useful thing about this combo, specially against slower enemies, is that the second attack breaks the current attack of the opponent. For instance after you dodge the attack of a troll it gives you time to do the first attack then while the troll ready his attack you continue your combo and break him with your second attack. The third attack of the combo charges against the enemy and push him back (even big monsters like trolls) making more damage and give you the time to recover.

Another way to deal damage is to use your daggers. The dwarf has a limited number of dagger with him (you can find them when you explore the world) but when you throw them you can get them back on the floor (so be careful where you throw them). You can throw the daggers in 4 directions (left/right and up/down) and they can reach up to 15 tiles in distance. While they don't deal much damage they can be useful to pull or finish enemy from far or kill smaller opponents like bats. But a better use for them is to set an ambush to your enemy taking advantage of the environment. With a dagger you can trigger explosive barrels or cut the rope of a lantern for it to fall and set the floor in fire, some enemies are very strong so it is a good thing to weaken them before they reach you.

The number of dagger is indicated on the top left of the HUD:
hud.png

Demonstration against a training dummy:
fight-dummy.gif


DEFENSIVE

Health points are sparse in Pantless Hero, when you get hit the only way to refill your health bar is by eating mushroom that you gather yourself. It's then essential to know how to avoid hits.

The basic way to protect yourself is to use the parry. When you parry and you get hit by an enemy it uses your stamina bar instead of your health points. The formula goes like this:stamina -= (damage * (1 - bonusParry)) * 0.75fhealth -= damage * (1 - parryAbsorption / 100f)//the dwarf absorbs 100% of the damage on parry but some enemies don't
If you don't have enough stamina to absorb it it will use your health points and your parry will be broken. Knowing that the stamina regenerates very slowly when you are in a parry position it's better to use it just before the attack.

When you fight against enemies dealing big damage your stamina will quickly run out if you parry, to avoid that there is the "perfect parry", from the moment you reach the parry position if the attack hits you within 320ms the attack is completely absorbed without using stamina. It requires to know the timing of the opponent's attack and can be risky because if your parry is too late you will get hit.

Another way is to dodge completely the attacks, it is very efficient against fast enemies, but uses a lot of stamina. One advantage of the dodge is that you can do it even if you are currently attacking. Some enemies do attacks that can be avoided if you crouch (like the horizontal attack of the troll).

BEHIND THE SCENE
This is how the combat system works in the code:
moveset-debug.gif
The green rectangle is the AABB (classic) the red line and rectangle represent the weapon, when either of the two (it depends of the type of weapon) intersects the AABB it hits the owner of the AABB.

This is the weapon class (a shortened version):
Source code:
http://pastebin.com/pqE9erMZ
The class is flexible enough to do a lot of different type of attack (need to add diagonal attack though).

It still needs some optimization and adjustment, but all the techniques combined give a rich gameplay, the different possibilities make it fun to play. One of the things we wanted, regarding the fights, is that it is not the character that gets stronger, so fighting gets easier, but because the player himself improves.

You can also enhance your character with mushrooms and runes, but I will talk about it in another entry.

Gobelin Vendors

We are working on the gobelin vendors for Pantless Hero.
They will be vendors that you can find in the caves. They are non-hostile but that doesn't mean they are on your side, it's just business. To benefit of their services you will have to help them directly or indirectly in some way.
Now the challenge is to give them enough complex behavior to make them interesting.
1428999383-gobelin.png
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