"The Arcaniary. The Blue Mists. The World Apart. And many other names besides. It's the place magic comes from, the place spell-crafters move in and out of. It's always described as blue mist, and impossible rock formations, and blazing-starred skies.

"What greater call to an adventurer? What an adventure it would be to visit such a place! What would I discover there, and see? For almost as long as I've adventured--maybe longer--I've wanted to explore its depths.

cutscene1 1

"But only spell-weavers can enter it, and to take up magic requires a sacrifice. When one is young, this could be one's memories, or ties to family, even physical life, or something else besides. But once one has found a path in life, only the sacrifice of that path will do. To go back on the sacrifice would bring death.

My path is adventuring. It always has been; it burned in my blood the day I was born. To learn magic, I would have to give up adventuring, my life--the very reason that I want to enter the other world.

"But in a tavern recently I heard a story, of a lost city and a door that led directly into the Mists. No magic training. No sacrifice. It could be just a story, or its meaning lost over the centuries. Even if it is, chasing it sounds like an adventure in itself.

"And if it's true. If there really is a door..."

A Door to the Mists is a first-person video game in a fantasy setting, featuring exploration, traversal, puzzle-solving, and sparse combat.

Features:

  • Ledge-climbing
    • In short, if it's solid, within reach, sufficiently flat, and has sufficient space, you should be able to climb onto it.
  • Combat
    • One-on-one melee; inspired by the Quest for Glory series
  • Exploration
  • Traversal challenges
  • Puzzle-solving

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Reworking the Tutorial

News

Greetings and salutations!

This week, in place of a screenshot we have a short video: a look at changes made to the game's tutorial!

With the aesthetic changes pretty much done (for now, at least!), I moved on to other matters for much of the week just past. In particular, to reworking the tutorial, and to continued work on the new enemy:

The tutorial in A Door to the Mists is a feature that has been critiqued since the release of the demos. There's a fair bit of text to it, and text that's easy to simply ignore, potentially leaving the player stuck at a later point. The combat tutorial also repeatedly stops play, interrupting the flow of the combat.

Furthermore, I've never been quite happy with just how much the very first tutorial dumps on the player.

Now, some of this I currently see little alternative to.

For one, I really don't know how else to convey the combat mechanic: if I don't stop play, then the player has a limited amount of time in which to read and digest the given information before being required to use it.

On top of that, I'm not willing to assume that all players have significant experience with games such as this. What's more, some features--primarily the universal climbing and the combat mechanic--seem to me sufficiently unusual that they call for explicit teaching, even to experienced gamers.

(And indeed, these two Twitter posts (one related to the other) that I recently happened upon only reinforce my feeling that I shouldn't assume universal gaming literacy:
Twitter.com
Twitter.com )

Still, in the week just past then I set out to improve the tutorial somewhat.

Some of this simply took the form of rewriting the text, and in the case of the combat health- and stamina- tutorials, of consolidating it. Hopefully the tutorials so edited should now better convey what they're intended to teach.

However, I also reworked the fundamentals of the pre-combat section of the tutorial.

The very first tutorial now teaches only the barest basics: movement, looking around, running, and opening the in-game menu.

Interaction, then, is now taught separately. And since there are multiple potential locations at which the player can first interact--the pushable stone at the back, the rock atop the pyramid, and the buttons in the first pyramid chamber--this tutorial is now available at all of them. Of course, I don't want players to be bothered by a tutorial that they've completed, so interacting in any of those places completes all of the interaction tutorials.

This also has the advantage that should the player ignore an earlier interaction tutorial, they'll at least get it again when they are required to interact in order to proceed.

Screenshot from 2020 04 06 19 02 1

Screenshot from 2020 04 06 19 02 2

Screenshot from 2020 04 06 19 02 3

You may recall that the rock atop the pyramid was an inventory item, and was used to teach about the inventory--which might clash with using it to teach about basic interaction.

To that end, said rock is no longer an inventory item: the player simply uses it, which causes it to be dropped into the darkness of the pyramid.

The inventory tutorial is then handled inside the pyramid, at the point at which the player is required to use an item to continue on.

Screenshot from 2020 04 06 19 02

Overall, I think that I'm happier with this arrangement! It does mean that the first pyramid chamber can end up with a pile of three tutorials one after the other--examination, interaction, and inventory--but hopefully most players will act on one of the other interaction tutorials, forestalling it appearing here.

And finally, I further added a little sound-cue to the tutorials. This helps in particular (I hope) to distinguish between tutorials that appear in quick succession, but also (I think) just makes them feel a bit more engaging.

(The sound used for this, by the way, was originally made for my "GDC Relief Jam" entry. ^_^)

Aside from the tutorial, I did some work in the combat mechanic in the week just past.

First and simplest, I've made some aesthetic changes to the background of combat: it's now a little less dark. This should hopefully make it easier to see both the player-character and the enemy--especially in the case of a particularly dark enemy that I have planned for later.

Here's a look at the new backdrop as it appears behind three different enemies, in three different environments:

Screenshot from 2020 04 02 21 30

Screenshot from 2020 04 02 21 29

Screenshot from 2020 04 02 21 28

And sticking with combat, I put in some work on the most recent enemy: For one, I've started to make the audio for the fight (although I'm not yet sure that I'm happy with what I've made). And for another, I made various touch-ups to the character's model and animations (in particular, incorporating mouth- and eyelid- movements as seemed appropriate).

I also uncovered and fixed a minor bug in the stamina system: it seems that damage reduction wasn't kicking in until stamina was pretty much zero, allowing combatants to deal full damage even at very low stamina-levels!

And along the way I made various other changes that don't seem worth detailing here!

That then is all for this week--stay well, and thank you for reading! ^_^

Aesthetic Miscellany and a Game Jam

Aesthetic Miscellany and a Game Jam

News

In which leaf-litter is dimmed; the changes to the player-light shader are propagated to the more-specific variants; the handling of "blob-lights" is...

Colour and Lighting and Blood

Colour and Lighting and Blood

News

In which aesthetic changes continue, in a variety of elements; the barrow-level's surrounding forest is improved (I feel); grass is brightened and greened...

Shiny Things and Distant Trees

Shiny Things and Distant Trees

News

In which the sunlight shader sees further work; parts of the prologue's perimeter are updated in response to the shader-work; the barrow's surrounding...

Aesthetics under Lantern and Sun

Aesthetics under Lantern and Sun

News

In which further changes are made to the aesthetics of the player-light shaders; work is begun on changing the aesthetics of the sunlight shaders; some...

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REDUX Demo, Update v0.8.5 (Windows 64-bit build)

REDUX Demo, Update v0.8.5 (Windows 64-bit build)

Demo

An updated version of the Redux Demo, incorporating several significant changes (and lots of minor ones)! The Redux Demo is a significantly reworked and...

REDUX Demo, Update v0.8.5 (Linux 64-bit build)

REDUX Demo, Update v0.8.5 (Linux 64-bit build)

Demo

An updated version of the Redux Demo, incorporating several significant changes (and lots of minor ones)! The Redux Demo is a significantly reworked and...

REDUX Demo (Linux 64-bit build)

REDUX Demo (Linux 64-bit build)

Demo

A significantly reworked and revised version of the demo, incorporating feedback on the old demo. This is the Linux 64-bit version. Ver. 0.8.1

REDUX Demo (Windows 64-bit build)

REDUX Demo (Windows 64-bit build)

Demo

A significantly reworked and revised version of the demo, incorporating feedback on the old demo. This is the Windows 64-bit version. Ver. 0.8.1

Revised Combat Prototype, Linux 64-bit

Revised Combat Prototype, Linux 64-bit

Demo

A simple prototype of the revised combat mechanic for A Door to the Mists. This is the Linux 64-bit Build. Note that the assets used here are almost all...

Revised Combat Prototype, Windows 64-bit

Revised Combat Prototype, Windows 64-bit

Demo

A simple prototype of the revised combat mechanic for A Door to the Mists. This is the Windows 64-bit Build. Note that the assets used here are almost...

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soniiiety
soniiiety

wow very awesome when will full game be out?

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A Door to the Mists
Platforms
Windows, Linux
Creator
IanEborn
Engine
Panda3d
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Genre
Adventure
Theme
Fantasy
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Single Player
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