July 2022 Progress Update

Happy July! We’re entering into the swing of summer, which means we’re leaving the first half of the year behind. Let’s take a look at what we’ve gotten done over the past month and so far this year!

Province Update

One of our biggest focuses for the last half of the year was completing the final province/biome. In particular, the last two months we heavily focused on the capital – Ziacia. This month, we completed it.

June 2022
July 2022

Now doesn’t that look great? The province has also come along, and is looking quite good!

We’ve got just a handful of maps/levels left to knock out of the park! Transition maps along the upper left and right, and a little bit of the core province to the bottom.

Naturally we fell a little behind from the storm last month (which we are still dealing with), but we’re hoping to finish most of this during July. The areas that won’t be completed (mostly to the right) have some gameplay mechanics we need to sort out first so we don’t need to redo them later. No need to make them pretty if we need to move all the roads around for plot reasons.

However, all in all, this goal is pretty much completed, which means the overworld of Gataela is just about done! Wow.

Rewrite & Skits

A big big BIG thing we have also been working on over the past WHILE has been the end of game rewrite & their related skits. As a reminder, Gataela has been in active development for just over 10 years now. The development of the game also started plot-first. We didn’t start with visuals, programming or level design – just the narrative and the game script. As you can imagine, it’s the oldest part of the game and hasn’t aged as well as we would’ve liked.

The purpose of the end of game rewrite was to refresh everything, make gameplay adjustments, fix some logical inconsistencies among other things. We scrapped a lot of old dialogue, we rewrote entire sections, we moved the locations of events and all sorts of things.

It’s nice to now have this done although we will likely revisit over the next while and make small tweaks here and there as needed.

Passive Animals, SFXs, Portraits and More

Now as for all the other stuff the team has been working on – and there’s a lot. Here’s a quick round up of some of the other accomplishments:

  • Passive Animals – We’ve got cows, we’ve got pigs, we’ve got chickens, we’ve got sheep. We’ve got horses, dogs, cats, birds, bugs, squirrels, mice, crabs and even a capybara. Owen has done an amazing job getting all these different animals done and we’re looking forward to adding them to the game and getting the worlds to feel more alive.
  • Emote Bubbles, VFX and UI Animations – We’ve also been expanding the number of emote bubbles to express more in cutscenes. On top of that, we have more overworld VFX and even some UI animation designs to help everything feel more polished. Once again, thanks to Owen’s hard work. We’re looking forward to showcasing a lot of these things as we move into the second half of the year.
  • SFXs – We highlighted this earlier in the year, but thanks to Chris’ amazing work, all of the SFXs have been updated for the new battle animations!
  • Debate Portraits & Designs – We also can’t forget the great work Cie has been doing to finish up the remaining debate portraits and character designs.

Gataela’s Level Design

In case you missed it, we did a presentation about Gataela’s Level Design for Dirty Rectangles. The VOD is available here, and if you are just interested in the presentation slides they are available here. Thanks for everyone who came out to listen to us talk about our recent work!

What’s Next?

Now that a lot of our major projects for the first half of the year are complete – just what are our plans for the second half? Well – it’s something like this:

July will focus on finishing up about half of the remaining provincial maps that have not been updated. These are mainly the transitions to the left, and some of the central maps. We’re also planning to add some of the VFX work to the world, work on some usability features (ex. skipping skits) and a couple small bug fixes.

Moving out of July and into the second half of the year our goals are the following:

  • Add game controller support
  • Update UI to work with gamepad
  • Add some UI animations and polish
  • Features – Skip Skits & Cutscenes
  • VFX & visual improvements
  • Debate battle rewrites & improvements
  • TTBattle improvements, rebalancing and expansion
  • Add cutscenes & skits
  • Complete the rest of the province

That’s a lot coming up and we’re hoping to slowly complete them over the next little while. In the meantime, we hope everyone has a relaxing summer and we’ll see you next month!