Author: gataela_mftu8r

September 2023 Progress Update

Hello everyone! It’s September…. can you believe it….?


Falaz is a small town located directly on the border with Aerand in the middle of the marshlands of Vescha. Despite being a border town, they are known as being something of a sleepy town of retirees and children – a nice place to visit for peace and quiet. Not many people pass through despite the crossing because the marshlands and Viche forest are so annoying to travel through. Here are some of the homes you can find here:

Most homes are pretty cozy – made of brick and wood. Since they happen to live in a marsh zone surrounded by forest, many homes have fireplaces in them to help with the chill. The smoke helps keep the bugs away too! Sewing is also a common past time.

Since many people don’t come through very often, the general store and the inn share the same building. There’s not a whole lot of space for sleeping, and then general store is even smaller. There aren’t even any employees – just write down what you’re buying or if you’re staying the night and leave the payment at the books. Honesty is key.

Splash Screens, Animals and More

We worked on a variety of improvements this past month so here’s a few of them below!

One improvement we made was adding a splash screen when the game starts up. We made changes to the loading speed the other month but it meant that when the game booted up everything was preloaded. When that happens, the main menu screen would appear but it would be “frozen” and so you couldn’t interact with the game. It was very confusing and annoying 🙁

So we’ve inserted this handy splash screen which will deal with the preloading. So when the buttons appear on the main menu screen you can click them immediately 🙂

We also focused on adding various animals and bugs and giving them some AI. So for example, if you run through fireflies they’ll scatter and disappear.

For others, they’ll wander around a predefined area and do little actions like bouncing or eating nuts, grass, etc. We still have a few more to implement, like cats, but here’s a good showing of most of them. Once we’re all done, we’ll be adding these fellows to the existing maps and it should make things feel more alive.

Admin Updates

A couple other misc admin updates that don’t really fit in anywhere:

  • Thank you to everyone who sent kind messages about the news last month. It’s always awkward to reply “thank you” to these kind of messages individually – so please just know we read them all and appreciate them very much. Once again, thank you for your understanding.
  • Our twitch is no longer. If you’re interested in Tuesday 8pm EST Gataela streams you can find them here.
  • We now have a bluesky!

What’s Next?

As per usual we’re continuing to focus on interiors and MSQ and if we’re lucky some more misc improvements.

  • Niande Interiors
  • Adding MSQ Cutscenes

Have a good start to fall!

August 2023 Progress Update

Hello everyone! We hope you are doing well! Here’s what we were up to last month!


Along with finishing Myranova’s interiors, we also wanted to focus on getting Kelchate’s interiors complete. Kelchate is a small fishing town located off of Myran Lake to the South-East of Myranova. It is also the town closest to Rical so sometimes visitors can be found passing through. Here are some of the homes you can find here:

There happens to be a hoarder living here. Maybe they are willing to sell you something for cheap? Like a couch! You’ll need a couch on your adventure, right?

There’s a local bookworm who – well – might need some help cleaning up. Be careful not to trip over anything – oddly enough those books ARE organized.

The local inn is a small Bed & Breakfast. Kick up and relax – you’re probably the only one staying here. At least the owner keeps things clean and there’s usually a snack or meal ready for you whether you asked for it or not.

TTBattle Skills

This is just a small note to say we are doneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. (Kinda)

New skills have been made (on paper) and we’ve cross checked that there shouldn’t be much if any overlap with existing ones. Our next steps are to get some graphics and SFX made for them, and then it’ll be implementation, play testing and balancing!

Which is to say there is still more work, but we’re good on this front for now. Once we’ve got some visuals we’ll go over some of the new skills and enemies. Look forward to it later this year.

Brief Note

Last month we mentioned that our cat was having a rough time and unfortunately she passed away from cancer a few days ago. We’re unsure how it’ll effect the next few months but we thank you for your understanding.

What’s Next?

Now that we’ve caught up on work we’ll be focusing on:

  • Falaz Interiors
  • Adding MSQ Cutscenes
  • Misc Improvements such a adding a splash screen, adding new animal behaviour, etc.

Have a good summer!

July 2023 Progress Update

Hello everyone! We hope you are handling the humidity well because – wow it’s been hot, humid and ever so smokey here. Here’s what we’ve been up to over the last month!

Assets Assets Assets

Over the past year or so we’ve worked on a graphical update and on expanding the turn-based battle system by adding new enemies, skills and animations but…. well… it seems it hasn’t been added to the game yet. Whoops.

We did a small audit and it turned out a lot of various animations were missing, so we worked on adding them and- y’know- there were just a few missing. A few hundred. Close to a thousand really. Well more than that. So… that was our month.

Also taking care of this cat.

This spry young 15.5 year old cat needed an emergency operation… after more than a week of various tests, late nights (and mornings) at emergency clinics etc. No need to worry – she’s doing fine (although she hates the cone) but this sort of meant that this month was dominated by mundane work and cat care.

Ambience Improvements

As for polish improvements, we made a small change so that when you walk through ambience the BGM will quiet down. You’ll now be able to hear the buzz of the forest, the roaring waves and the hum of markets much more clearly!

Also we made our first test room as we will have incoming VFX and SFX surface improvements!

What’s Next?

We’ll be mainly catching up on last month’s work:

  • Finish adding Myranova interiors
  • Finalizing Cutscene music
  • TTBattle Skills and Balancing

And if we happen to finish catching up before the end of the month, we’ll be moving onto more interiors and cutscenes!

June 2023 Progress Update

Happy Summer Everyone! We hope you have enjoyed the two weeks of spring and are now ready for the impeding heat wave. Remember to hydrate! Here’s what we were up to over the last month~

Interiors Interiors Interiors

We started on the long road of finishing the maps this month. And by long road we mean the interiors for all of the cities and towns. The first city we are starting with is Myranova: a seaside resort city!

Cities are pretty big, so we split it in half vertically and got started. We mainly focused on the port, some shops and some household interiors. Here’s a couple screenshots:

A kitchen/living area for a large family in a small house. They are in the middle of putting away and organizing groceries.

The downstairs of a house used for temporary sleeping arrangements for sailors. A small makeshift stage is in the corner for performing sea shanties. How much sleep the sailors get upstairs with the racket downstairs is questionable.

A common sitting area and rooms in an upper-class hotel in Myranova. Very large and spacious, but quite empty feeling without many people passing through.

Cutscenes & Improvements

We began to implement cutscenes again this month – but not just any cutscenes. No. It was the difficult ones. The long ones. The ones with lots of NPCs moving around and reacting to things. Which suffice to say went well – but we needed to make a few improvements.

Generally speaking cutscenes look like this:

Here is the opening cutscene of the game with Rozalia walking in, calling out to Zack and then dragging him out of the stall.

Everything in this cutscene is scripted out in a single function – which basically means that the function is “single-threaded” in terms of what events happen. If you have background NPCs who can go about their own merry way, it’s fine, but as soon as you need them to do things and react but only when they need to but you don’t know at what point they’ll be at – things get complicated.

Sure, you can have everything in the main function. Most of the cutscenes work like that. But when you want to have more moving parts this can make the world feel very stutter-y. For example let’s say you have an NPC walking around for a cutscene. What if the NPC reaches the end of their movement path, but the player hasn’t advanced dialogue? They will stop moving and wait for the player to continue. What if you have more than one NPC? It becomes very obvious when the world stops moving – or what parts of the world are involved in the cutscene.

So it makes sense to make things “multi-threaded”. We have infrastructure for that already! But it’s through Gamemaker’s Timelines system, which can be difficult to use. Not to mention that for each timeline we create it’s a new asset. For a one-off scene. Here’s an example of a timeline where a character wanders around, thinks and then wanders around again:

So what to do? Infrastructure!

Here we have a timeline for an Officer walking on the screen. They do some actions, react to some things, then leave the screen. No need for a separate asset and all of the cutscene code is contained in the main function, but executes in parallel. Plus we can reuse our preexisting cutscene helpers. The cutscene system will also clean up the created timeline at the end appropriately to boot.

“But what about Gamemaker’s new Sequence tool?” You may ask. This project is old. We redid the cutscene system twice before to make it easier to use. Let’s save that for…. not this game.

BUT WAIT A SECOND! There’s more.

Yes, more.

You’ll notice above that in earlier cutscenes we had these path assets defined. Paths are basically a list of points with speed values set to them. The idea was that if we ever needed to modify the movement in cutscenes we would edit the paths instead of the cutscenes. However we haven’t needed to do that – ever – and many of the paths are short without any change in speed, like this:

So we put in some infrastructure. Let’s create a path asset, add some points to it, then execute within the cutscene:

Similar to the timeline helpers made, the cutscenes will manage the temporary cutscene paths and make sure they get cleaned up just right. No one likes memory leaks.

So with all that said, we got some improvements to make fancier cutscenes. We put in fancier cutscenes. Wow. Cutscenes.

What’s Next?

The big content update continues! We’ll be breaking down the scope a little bit more outside of maps, cutscenes and battles:

  • Finish adding Myranova interiors
  • Work on adding dungeon puzzles
  • Finalizing Cutscene music
  • TTBattle Skills and Balancing

May 2023 Progress Update

Hello everyone! We hope you are surviving the spring allergy season (we sure aren’t). Here’s what we were up to during April!

Improving Performance

Our main focus for the last month was on improving loading times for levels/rooms/screens of which you can see above. We had noticed for a while now that loading times seemed to be just a little too long.

We previously expected that if a transition would take 1 second animation-wise, then the actually loading of the screen shouldn’t take more than a second. Yet on average we were seeing screens take 4-7 seconds just to load – weird. Was it perhaps a recent GameMaker update that broke something? Is it our recent work to add in more assets? Are we reaching the limit of the engine?

A mystery was afoot.

So we debugged and fixed a few things here and there that seemed like they were causing issues but it was still taking a REALLY long time to load. And so we did more debugging, and more, and more and found… that it was GameMaker’s draw events taking up all the time.

Uh oh.

So we poked around on the internet. Surely someone must’ve run into this before, right? Nope. And then we started to poke other people. Did they ever see anything like this? Not quite.

We were given a handy hint to take a look at texture_debug_messages and we found that with each screen transition the textures were being wiped from memory – so it had to unpack them all over again. The function that was causing this was draw_texture_flush. We had added it at some point over the years. With a quick delete we were suddenly loading MUCH faster.

We did still notice that the initial load of the files were taking a while – anywhere from 1-5 seconds. The cause was the overworld texture pages being unpacked into memory. We changed that to preload on game start (where a splash screen will eventually be) and now it’s as speedy as can be.

How speedy? 0.03 – 0.2 seconds.

Now that we’re loading faster, we also sped up the speed of the room transitions going from an average of 1 second long to 0.5 seconds.

And all of this is to say that the game is thankfully in good shape (phew) and now better than ever. In the future you’ll be able to play at maximum speed.

Crafting New Skills

In addition to our performance improvements, we made some progress on skills and more animations. Above is a wonderful cauldron animation made for the crafting screen and a future craft skill! Yes – that’s right – you can craft items to fill up your inventory in case you run out mid battle! Assuming you have the materials that is… We’ll go into more details about this handy little skill in the future~

What’s Next?

Now that performance woes are over and we don’t have to worry about the content updates causing issues, we’ll be heading right on back to adding them in and focusing on:

  • TTBattle Skills and Balancing
  • Adding Cutscenes
  • Adding Overworld Interiors