Hello everyone! How do you do?
It’s been a couple of very busy months for Monster Embassy development, and it’s finally time to share with you what I’ve been working on! I have lots of fun stuff to showcase, so do keep on reading, you won’t be disappointed (I hope!).
- I’ve redesigned the main character, Plata! Since she’s a black character, I wanted her to have a proper black hairdo. I’ve finally decided on a mushroom afro (I tried to go for a full fro, but it didn’t look very nice in a 16x16px pixel avatar…), with some dreads. I like her much better now! You can see her new concept art below. I’ve also remade all her walking, swimming, etc. animations in-game and updated this devlog’s favicon and logo accordingly.
- Apart from Plata, I’ve also been redesigning and designing from scratch many other characters: more than 30 of them! You can find their pictures in the “concept_art/humans” subfolder of the game’s repository. In case you don’t want to download and/or click through so many files, I’ve added a small selection of them below. These concept art pieces, colored with markers, will be used as a basis to create the definitive pixel-art portraits that will appear in-game. For now, though, they make for good placeholder art and help me visualize better what the game’s world will be like.
Game and programming news
- I’ve improved the main menus with more animations, icons, etc. I created an animated pixel-art portrait of the main character, too, which you can see in the screenshots, but I’ll have to discard it, since she’s been redesigned completely… Whoops! That’s why you use placeholder art, folks!
- I’ve finished the friends and quest system! This system is centered around a “notebook” menu, a menu that simulates a physical notebook, in which new entries will appear when you get a new quest or make new friends. It will also include notes written by the main character and by the npcs that she befriends. The goal of the game is to get all available friends to sign this notebook, so it was a pretty important menu to make! I might still make it prettier and add more details, though: for example, I’ll probably add a way to filter entries by type, so you can see all open quests at once. It might get hard to navigate otherwise, particularly as you keep accumulating questlogs.
- I’ve coded a completely new dialogue system, from scratch! I had been using a heavily modified version of an outdated Godot 2 plugin for dialogues, but it didn’t really suit my needs, so I discarded it. With this new system, two characters can be shown at once on the screen, with simple animations. Also, sound effects play when the text appears (they can be different for each character, too, to simulate different voices) and other random sound effects can be played in the middle of dialogues, such as explosions. Speech bubbles can shake and change to simulate screaming or fear or other emotions, and hand-drawn pixel-art backgrounds will be shown behind the characters, Fire Emblem-style. The whole system is heavily inspired by the Fire Emblem games, really. This dialogue system will probably be expanded further, but the basics are already there and I like it much better than the previous one!
- Behind the scenes, I’ve also been working on a cinematics system, closely related to the dialogues system. It still needs a lot of work, but basically it’s a database with info on all the dialogues and actions that will happen on scene independently from player input: npcs moving around and talking, emotion bubbles (?, !, …, etc.), screen shakes, changes in music, receiving items from npcs… an event system of sorts. I’ve also been working on lots of other details, to improve the overall feel of the game.
- Map objects no longer flicker when you walk over them (I think?).
- As usual, I’ve fixed lots of other minor bugs, but nothing truly game-breaking. So far, so good!
Known bugs to fix
- In the dialogue system, if you press the action button many times when dialogue is still appearing, the dialogue disappears and appears again. This system is very new and it needs lots of adjusting, so I won’t be surprised if it has lots of other bugs that I haven’t noticed yet…
- When you return to the config menu after changing the game language settings, there’s a screen transition error. Should be easy to fix.
- When you use an air spell on an object but the object doesn’t move because it collides with something (another object or a wall), the spell spends energy anyway. This is a bug, since it should only spend energy if it actually takes effect.
What I want to do next
Loooots of stuff. In no particular order:
- I need to redraw/redesign on paper all the monsters that will appear in the game (there’s like 50 of them), since I drew them years ago and there’s some details I’d like to improve.
- I’ll require even more human NPC designs, to populare the cities and towns in the game. This is not urgent, though, since I’ve already drawn the most important ones.
- Once I redesign the monsters, I’ll have to remake the cover art, because it’s outdated now. It will be the third prototype cover/poster I make… this will probably be a nice visual way to trace the game’s progress, a few years down the line!
Game- and programming-wise
- Improving the cinematics system, so npcs can be moved around the screen, music can be changed, etc.
- Adding an option in the config menu to turn on and off the “beep” sound effects in dialogues. I know that some people find them annoying…
- Adding a game over animation (right now the game directly jumps to the “game over” screen with no transition whatsoever).
- Adding a jump effect for the player, similar to the one found in Pokémon games when you jump over ledges.
- Finishing the thunder visual effects.
- Adding more scene transitions for menus and cutscenes.
- Many many many other things!
I haven’t been posting much on social media because I’ve been busy with the game and I didn’t really feel like it, to be honest, but as you can see I’ve kept myself busy! The game is slowly taking form. I’m very satisfied with how things are going and I’m having lots of fun.
I’ll keep you updated. Best of luck and thanks again for reading,