Hello, everyone! How do you do?

It’s been a while since the last update, hasn’t it? It’s time to put all of my advances together into a post and show you some new stuff!

Are you ready? Let’s go!

News

Game and programming news

  • Simple “jump over ledges” system implemented. This system is very much inspired by Pokémon. It lets you go through a specific area in the map in one direction, but not the oposite, to simulate you jumping from a certain height.

To make this prettier, I’ve also added a shadow under the player and all NPCs. This is what the system looks like right now:

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I’m planning on adding some simulation of height, to make it more realistic. Moving up the player a few pixels should do the trick, I guess? Also pay no mind to the awful placeholder graphics, please :P

  • The inventory menu has been completely remade, so now it has multiple pages, more detailed description texts for items and better navigation. MOST IMPORTANTLY: items are ordered alphabetically, which was an absolute must! The menu also displays text one character at a time, like the dialogue system, which makes it look much more professional and feel nicer.

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Items with a visible amount (x1, x99, etc.) are consumable items, and items with no visible amount aren’t consumed when used.

If the game ends up having hundreds of items (which is a possibility), I’ll probably add different item categories, such as “healing items” or such, but for now they’re all dumped into a single category.

  • Inspired by the game “Survival Kids” for the Gameboy Color, I’ve also added the option to display some text in-menu after you use an item. So, for example, you might eat something and read a message that says “That’s yummy!” or “That tasted disgusting”. I’m hoping this will breathe more life into the game and make the items more interesting.

Also, many items won’t actually be usable, you’ll have to collect them for plot-related reasons or just because, so the only thing you’ll get when you “use” them is this text.

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  • A key system has also been added, so certain items can be used to destroy/deactivate specific obstacles.

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  • I’ve also improved navigation in some menus and added a visual cue when an action is blocked/forbidden: a bubble on top of the player with a red “X”. It’s cute. I’ve named the accompanying system sound effect “nope”, because I like adding fun stuff to the code sometimes.

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Design news

  • I’ve finally drawn alpha designs for all the characters in the game! Since my last post, I’ve spent as much time working on the game on the computer (fixing bugs, improving systems…) as I have outside of it. In particular, I’ve chosen to focus on NPC design, because I needed to know more or less which characters would be in the game, and how they’d relate to each other, in order to keep designing maps, missions and other aspects of the game.

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I’ve shown you some of my character designs before, but this is the first time that I have at least a working design for all (and I mean ALL) the NPCs that will be in the game.

There will be 108 characters in total: 32 of them will be monsters and the rest, humanoids of different kinds. My plan is to keep it to 108 at all costs; in any case, some of the current characters might be replaced by others down the line, but the total won’t increase. This should help me keep the scope in check, as well as avoid bugs and problems when coding the game itself, since I will code it with a fixed number of characters in mind.

I’ve drawn them all, and designed some of their personality and other concepts as well, in a notebook, by hand. You can learn a bit more about this in my art blog, if you’re interested: Monster Embassy folderbook.

  • Thanks to the previous achievement, I’ve been able to make an exhaustive list of all the available areas in the game. That is, I now know with more detail which environments, buildings and such will be available in each episode of the game.

The areas themselves, as well as the in-game graphics, still need to be designed, of course, but this is an important step. I’ve also gotten a better grasp of the plot as a result.

Fixed bugs

  • Now light sources are correctly disabled when they don’t belong to the active map layer: that is, if you go indoors, for example, indoor lights will activate and outdoor lights will deactivate accordingly.
  • Fixed some other bugs related to the new game systems.

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. The dialogue system in general needs more work… I might even redo it from scratch, since it’s not really that complicated and I made some serious mistakes when first designing it.
  • The player instance sometimes isn’t correctly freed when returning outdoors after going into an indoor map, which causes a crash.
  • If you use the in-game “reset” option (which doesn’t actually reset the program, just returns you to the titlescreen and resets all game stats to default), the game crashes. I’ve disabled this option for now until I get to fix it.
  • The “got item” menu, which appears when you get an item, seems to be broken or invisible for some reason.
  • The player’s shadow is visible when you’re in an underwater indoor map. It shouldn’t be.

What I want to do next

  • Redo the “save” menu in the game, since it’s kind of, eh, bad-looking. I’ll try to make it more similar to the load menu.
  • Improve how the “friendship” and mission system works internally and implement entries for all the 108 characters I’ve designed.
  • Implement the fire system, which will be one of the most complicated so far.
  • The notebook menu should be expanded so entries can be filtered by type and ordered from newest to oldest or viceversa.
  • The cinematics system needs to be improved, so NPCs can be moved around the screen, etc. I also need to implement more screen transitions.
  • Make the UI prettier and remove the sliding patterned background from the main menu, since it’s not seizure-proof.
  • I also have to finish the “slide” effect for ice, which I started but seems to be harder than I expected. I’ll probably leave it for later…

And a looot more stuff.

Well, that’s all for today! I’ll get back to work. Best of luck to you all and thanks for reading,

Alf