Long time no see!
First of all, I am terribly sorry for not having posted anything formal on IndieDB (or the official website). I had a two month period where I had a lot of real-life work to do, and the rest of the time during this silence was doing a lot of backend, such as bug fixing, and optimization here and there. Most importantly, I've also completed during that time both an attack choreography editor (battle animations) and a cut-scene editor, to speed up their creation. After all, who would want to edit large JSON files with lots of empty lines to just create a single cut-scene? Not me, that's for sure.
However, this marks the beginning of implementing the story content in the game, the real levels that will played and the real enemies that you'll face. In addition, I've managed to add some extra work to complete a good chunk of gameplay elements that were left untouched for a bit too long in the experimental stage, in particular, the Intermission screen.
The Intermission Rework
Probably the biggest update I've done is a major rework of the Intermission. In between each mission, you'll be sent to an intermission where you can talk to your party members, buy items, and select your next mission. Before, this was a simple menu, with an animated background.
Now, I've transformed it into a small hub level!
Between each mission, you, the leader, Persephone, can finally take a breather outside of being contained within your party members and move around your hidden house in the Asphodel Meadows! You move around here exactly like during the platformer sections.
You can also talk to your party members on the field this time around. It's much easier to create conversations now with this method, since, before, I would have created cut-scene files to do such a function (not the best idea in hindsight). Their position, expression and what they have to say, will change after certain missions.
Accessing the save feature works exactly the same as within a mission: you enter a save room. This was one of the reasons why I decided to change how the intermission works: I felt it was a bit too different how you saved the game inside a mission and during a mission. Save rooms also provide a full party heal, for a price, but it's only used when found during a mission.
Another thing that caused this change was that I had no real "nice" way of switching leaders during an intermission. The new intermission lets you switch leaders like inside a mission, outside of battle. However, you won't be playing as Yvonne, Ethan or Emilie during the intermission.
This intermission rework is also being used for an introduction level, when you start a new game for the first time. I can't go much into details for now, but hopefully when the trailer gets made, alongside the website rework, I could explain.
One last thing to note, mission select now got a rework as well, making the choice of a mission much more streamlined. The next mission is ready to select, and older missions are now on a separate list. A little world map also shows up, indicating where you are going.
I've made two new field objects. The first one is a moveable block, which only Yvonne can push. It will fall off ledges, and you can also stand on it.
The other field object is more of a gimmick, that will probably used in a few missions. These are Gravity Minotaur Beams. Touching it will make you crash downwards with no control and you'll be lit on fire. You'll be stunned when landing, but a few taps of the jump button will put you back on two feet (picture doesn't press jump until a bit of time). While crashing down, wooden blocks you come into contact with will be smashed, granting you access to certain areas.
The method the game spawns enemy encounters is now slightly different. Instead of spawning all field enemies from the start of the map load, it will check every few seconds to see if you are nearby certain spawners. When you are close, the game now counts how long you've been out of battle. After a bit of time, it will spawn an enemy to attack you. Avoiding battles for long periods of time will increase over time the amount of enemies that appear, and the frequency, until you eventually enter battle. What's nice is that I still have control over where I spawn enemy encounters: such as a tough jump or a puzzle where you don't want any interruption. In such cases, there would be little or no spawners around those areas. Straight-forward areas could have much more spawners.
Another change comes with how attacking enemies on the field works. Before, hitting a foe on the field would lead to a first strike. Now, it is a bit different: hitting a foe will stun them. Left for a few seconds, they will disappear. Touching them while stunned might lead to a first strike. Similarly, getting attacked by a foe might lead to an ambush.
Battle Stat Tracker
During battle, it's always a good idea to keep in mind the effects of titles on both your party and your foes. I've now implemented a feature, during battle, that lets you view the currents buffs and debuffs for any character inside battle.
There are two views, and you toggle between each one. The default view shows current buffs/debuffs, resistances, and the effects applied from the ally leader/enemy leader/both/none. The other view shows the selected character's title, even if they are not leader.
There were some other developments that occurred during this time, but they are too small to have their own section. It's mostly because they are backend things, such as:
- The Memopedia stats. The stats track various things in the game.
- Converting the majority of text objects in the game into bitmap text. Much better memory wise.
- I started work on making the C++ build running and working. So far, you can get into battle and fight, but there are some problems. FlxTween's LinearPath has problems, with the objects being teleported to the greatest negative value for a 32-bit integer. Yeah, I looked up a huge number on google because it was the same number appearing everywhere tween related.
- Dialogue boxes are different now, the text appears in full now. It isn't letter to letter anymore.
- I've redone the way main stats get calculated from base stats. Originally, the base stats would range from 1-10, but now I've made it range from 1-200. A lot more to work around with, and stats don't look so same-y as a result.
Here's what I need to do next, at least before making a trailer:
- Finish the cut-scenes at least for the first mission of the game, and refine them.
- Finish the first mission, get prototypes up for other missions (for visual variety).
- Create faster battle animations, and fix old animations that are way too slow.
- Change the battle entry effect, as it doesn't like C++ due to tweens.
- Make a better ui for showing buttons prompts, like pressing UP to enter a door. Right now, only a button icon shows up, and they aren't the prettiest thing around. Speaking of which, making gamepad button icons would be important as well. The feature is there, it's just that I never found a good way to sprite the buttons. This also goes for special buttons on a keyboard, like ENTER and SPACE.
- Add button contexts to battle and menus, defining what button does what in any given menu with more than just accept/cancel.
- Decide on a composer to hire.
Please remember that I do post some more "minor" updates on my twitter, although with the site makeover and trailer, I'll also be opening a seperate twitter account for Hegemone Pass alone.
Anyway, thank you for reading!