Post news RSS Devlog #24 - First of the Fortnights

Hey there! This week is our first fortnightly devlog, so we’re covering a whole bunch of stuff! We’ve got plenty of level editor content, animation talk, and some environment art discussion. And we also look at a bit of level and mechanic design as well! It’s been a hell of a fortnight!

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First of the Fortnights

Greetings, fine and handsome friends! Welcome to the first of Handsome Dragon Games’ fortnightly devlogs! Well, the first since deciding they wouldn't be weekly anymore. Regardless, I'm Jack, Creative Director for Handsome Dragon Games, and I'm going to be giving you a run down on what’s been happening over the last two weeks. That means we’re going to be looking at twice as much Dyadic content as usual, so brace yourself, because this may very well be a long one.

So, first things first, let’s talk level editor. Lately, the biggest challenge the programmers have been tackling is getting this thing to work. In the first week, Corey and Callan successfully lay the foundations for what the level editor was set to become. So this meant working on things like putting the players in the world, and the basic restrictions players will have when creating these worlds. What’s more, they also successfully created a save system for these levels, which as you can imagine is exceptionally important, especially if you want to share your creation with others.

LE Menu
The editor menus have been expanding as well, to add more functionality for testing.

This week, these foundations are being expanded upon. You can now begin to play the level from within the editor itself. The editor now successfully makes use of the characters, jade statue, ground chunks, and doors. Some things still require some work, such as getting an object in there to actually activate the doors, but that will come with time. Additionally, one of the biggest challenges is coming up with an intuitive way for players to link each device with its activator, both in terms of interface and code. But I've the utmost confidence that Corey will solve that issue before too long.

The camera still needs a bit of work, but it’s coming along.

Now, moving on to art. As I mentioned in our most recent (and currently only) mini-update, we've recently run into some unfortunate technical difficulties with the program Angelica has been using to create all of our characters’ assets. This means that all of the new animations that she had been creating must be redone from the beginning. However, on the plus side, this does mean that we now have a greater opportunity for revision in the animations, and can make them even better than they already were. Silver linings, I suppose.

Character Anim Bits
A few bits and pieces from the animations.

Aside from animations, we've also been looking into an alternate way of handling our backgrounds. We've known for a while that we need to update them, since simply having a blue-green haze behind everything isn't the most atmospheric choice, though we've yet to find a definite direction, since the highest priority has been the character animations.

Child Of Light Inspiration
A very rough depiction of how we’re thinking of drawing on Child of Light’s style.

Regardless, we've lately been taking some inspirations from the game Child of Light. We've been considering creating tile-able painted backdrops for our various areas, as well as adding more dynamic elements to them, to actually give players the sense that they’re underground, rather than in some strange, cloudy ‘skyland’. And these background themselves can be shifted between any of the various tones of colours we desire. And I must admit, I'm really looking forward to seeing how they all turn out. Just as soon as we get those animations done…

BG Concept
Some early concepts to show the distinction between the back- and fore- grounds.

As for design, I've been working on two things. First of which is designing more puzzles (what a surprise). I've been playing around with a few more interesting elements in the levels, such as putting both characters in the same space, rather than having them separated and working across rooms, as it were. Beyond that, I've also been working with creating more dynamic levels, that change as a results of a…uh…‘particular narrative device’. Whilst I've been at work on that, some of the ever dutiful programmers have taken some time to begin the initial stages of construction for some of these designs, putting all the pieces in place and linking them accordingly.

Level Outline
What happens when both players are forced into the same place? Let’s see…

The second design challenge I've been working on is reworking the statue. Now this one is a real ‘doozy’, as the kids call it these days. I've been working through various methods of giving the jade statue more value, so that the players may actually see a reason to fight over it, which is one of the more central premises of the game. I've been looking at using it to provide access to secrets, to give players some kind of buff, to be used as protection from the ruins themselves, and a whole manner of other things.

So far, I've yet to find a solution that is quite ‘right’. However, I have been making note of the various rules that any particular solution should follow. And at this point, I've also concluded that there is most likely no way to effectively give the statue value, without creating an additional mechanic or abstraction for it to feed into. Our current mechanics are just too simple and constrained for us to alter them in-game in any meaningful way. So I’ll keep exploring the possibilities for a while longer.

But, I’d say I've rambled on long enough. That’s about everything that’s been going on in the past couple of weeks. Everything that’s important anyway. Now, remember, if you want to know what’s been going on next week, then you’ll need to check out our Facebook page for our mini-update. Or you could just come back here in a fortnight. It’s up to you. Regardless, whenever it may be…

Until next time,

For more Information on Dyadic or Handsome Dragon Games:
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Our Twitter Page: @AHandsomeDragon

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