The February 2018 update with new concept art for Anathema, a new level editor and a general update of what is happening with the game.

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Hello all,

As mentioned in the December post on Steam, our goal is to bring you regular updates throughout the course of development. Our first update is some general information regarding concept art and a new tool in development for Anathema.

CONCEPT ART - "The Ossuary"
If you're like me, you've played the demo and you're familiar with the first few areas of the game. It's incredibly refreshing to be able to create new areas and concept art. I'm bored of looking at the areas in the demo and am so happy to sink my creative teeth into new areas.

The first new area concept art that I would like to unveil is The Ossuary. This is planned to be the stage immediately following the swamp area and will probably have the most gothic aesthetic in the game. The image speaks for itself, but among the litters of bones will be numerous traps and hazards waiting for the player. While we have made a conscious effort to make Anathema more original and lesser of a Castlevania clone, I can't help but feel the original inspiration will shine through here.
The Ossuary

CONCEPT ART - "Revenant Knight"
The first new enemy that I will share isn't anything that far out of left field (I have to save some of the juicy bits for along the way) but gives further insight into The Ossuary.

This Revenant Knight will be a basic enemy of the level, however I have a few ideas for its attack patterns. While a lesser enemy, it will also have a bit more variety and unpredictability to its aggression.

During our last team meeting in January, I proposed that we take a little time so that I can create a level editor for Anathema. As some of you know, Anathema is developed in Clickteam Fusion 2.5. The level editor (aka Frame Editor) in the engine can be cumbersome when building a game such as this. CTF is built with rapid prototyping in mind, and the Frame Editor is what I have always used in the past but it leaves me longing for more intuitive controls to rapidly test level design ideas.
Over the last few weeks I've been designing and programming this level editor with the rapid approach in mind. The image you see is far from finished, but already is incredibly powerful. I have drawn a lot of inspiration from Super Mario Maker and its design approaches. The level editor will be entirely mouse-driven so that I can create levels from my Surface Pro 3 using just the pen. I found the aspect of "drawing/painting" a level in Super Mario Maker to be very satisfying.

While creating this tool will slow development down on the front-end, it will greatly speed up the actual creation process in the future. So taking a month or two now to make it will actually save many more months of development time in the future.

I have several more enemy concepts completed but have several stage concepts left to create. The Level Editor has taken full priority right now over the concept phase, but I don't expect the level editor to take too much longer to finish.

While I work on the editor Josh and Nic are hammering away at the final script. We had long deliberations about what exactly we wanted to do with the story and characters. We want the story and characters to be memorable so we had to take extra care with much of the plot-points, character interactions and their story arcs.

After the editor is finished I will resume with concept art which will be remaining enemies, bosses, stages, level layouts and everything in between. The goal is to have a mostly 100% blueprint moving forward so that we can just start hammering everything out. We made the unfortunate mistake at the beginning and throughout development by just working as we go. It caused a lot of hiccups, delays and doubt. While we had an approximate idea of what we wanted, it wasn't thorough enough. The steps we're taking now will ensure that development progresses at speedy rate once we finish the current stages.

Thank you all for reading. I will be bringing these updates to you monthly now as I find this will strike the best balance of providing new information as we work on Anathema, while still allowing for time to develop the game. We still have our day jobs so we only get so many hours a day to work on the game but are glad we have the ability and opportunity.

See you in March!


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