Category: Progress Update

April 2020 Progress Update

Hello everyone! We hope you had a good April’s Fool. Here’s our update for what we were up to during March!

Covid

It goes without saying that March focused largely around the global pandemic. First of all, we hope everyone is doing well. The team has been in quarantine for about 3 weeks now, with some of us being ill during this time. We would just like to raise awareness that the situation is as it is, and it has marginally affected how much was done the past month. Everyone is doing fine though! And we hope you all are too.

Battle System Balancing

Since not much could be done the past month, we’ve been slowly focusing on the timed battle system. Right now things aren’t balanced very well to our liking, and although the debate battle system has gotten some streamlining and overhauls, the timed one hasn’t.

So when it comes to RPGs, how do you balance something like this? Spreadsheets are one thing, but that can get very complicated. Then what about playtesting? The team is small and there are so many combinations to account for, and then you factor into RNG, that there is just so much to check.

This is where unit testing & simulations come in.

Essentially, the plan is to run battle simulations based purely on numbers. No animations. Just execute the battle with some predefined setup and see if it passes or not. Then execute that a certain number of times, and make sure that it passes a certain number of times.

As we change and adjust things, we will unit test to make sure that we don’t accidentally break previous balances, or the battle system, as we test these things out.

We hope this will be completed by the June beta update, will help out with balancing in the long term, and ensure that battles are sufficiently difficult no matter how you plan to build your party.

What’s Next?

The team is still working on adjusting to our new way of life, so we expect things to be slow for a couple more weeks. In the meantime, we will continue to add content to the game and further refine things. We hope we have more to show in May. Take care!

March 2020 Progress Update

Happy March! We hope everyone has survived their second or third winter and is ready to meet Spring!

Spring 2020 Beta Update

In case you missed it, the Beta Update is out! Last month we were talking about what was left to do, and the plan was to release it before the end of this month, but we finished it ahead of time! So do check it out if you haven’t already!

Summer 2020 Beta Update

Now that our Spring update is out, it’s onto the next: Summer 2020. We have mentioned it in the past, but Summer’s is big. Really big. We’re:

  • doubling the game world
  • adding a lot of story
  • more debates
  • more dungeons
  • more npcs
  • more graphical updates

We used to have a road map for the old beta releases, but because we spent time on polishing up the graphics and redoing it, it wasn’t much use. For the moment we’ve remade the road map and added some information here and there about what to expect in Summer’s beta.

We will be adding more information as the weeks progress, particularly around the “bug fix” section as more people play Spring’s update. The less bugs that are reported, the more likely we will increase the “feature” list, which will include features and polish tasks.

Do note that the road map isn’t exhaustive and doesn’t include things like working towards gamepad support, additional animation and SFX work, and so on.

What’s Next?

We’ve already done a lot of preparatory stuff for Summer’s update while working on Spring’s, so we’ll be charging ahead with adding more content! We hope everyone looks forward to what’s coming down the line!

February 2020 Progress Update

Happy Groundhog Day! We hope everyone had a good start off to the year!

March Beta Update

To start off, the March Beta Update is going well! This past month we added all of the cutscene content, some battle system improvements, and some more preparatory work for the Summer Beta Update.

What’s left is to add the big debate battle for the release, fix up a number of bugs, and perhaps balance some things here and there.

Battle System Improvements

We’ll be showing this off more during the month, but we’ve begun to take some of the feedback and feature requests we received about the demo and add them to the game. One such improvement is the addition of level indicators.

Over the game’s development we’ve bounced back and forth between having the indicators or not. On one hand, it can really clog up the screen with information, on the other hand, it’s important for people to be able to gauge their party against their enemies.

We had them visible in the old demo, but removed them from this newest one to see if they really were necessary. Outcome: Definitely necessary.

We watched a number of people play through the game and noticed that without them players:

  • Could not gauge if they were in a high level area or not
  • Often attacked higher level enemies and died (reducing enjoyment of the game)
  • Overlevelled/grinded a lot “to be safe”
  • Didn’t level enough for encounters
  • Ran away from weak enemies “just in case”

Part of this problem comes from our design decision to have enemy “types” that have different levels (ex. Pokemon) than enemies that only exist at certain levels (ex. Persona). We are also avoiding having colors imply the strength of an enemy (ex. Red slimes versus blue slimes). So we decided to add them back into the game.

What’s Next?

We will be working to tighten up the March beta, and begin to think about the content for the Summer Beta.

Have a great February and look forward to the next beta update!

January 2020 Progress Update

Happy New Year! We hope everyone is doing well. This month we’ll be talking about what happened in December, what happened in 2019, and what we’re planning to do for 2020!

December 2019

December was focused on getting back into the swing of things after our break in November. We did a lot of planning, story writing, and other supportive work to prepare for this year.

We’ve also started working on the next beta release which is to land sometime around March. We’re aiming for a relatively safe-sized release, so it’s been going quite well thus far, and we’re estimated to be about halfway there. We may end up squeezing in some more bugs fixes than expected, or releasing it early, depending on how planning for the Summer beta goes.

Otherwise, we’ve begun to upload our Twitch development streams to Youtube. Let us know what you think!

2019

2019 was a busy year! We:

  • Released the demo update
  • Moved to a new site
  • Added new music, art, animations and story and a load of new features
  • Started Twitch streaming again
  • Created a Discord server
  • Publicizing our git commits using Discord
  • Started archiving dev streams on Youtube
  • And more!

2020

So what are we planning to do for 2020?

  • Beta Releases every quarter to Beta Testers
  • Finishing the Main Story Quest for the game

The beta releases we’ve spoken about many times by now, which should come as no surprise. However, to speak to the second one requires some more explanations.

First, for those unfamiliar with the term Main Story Quest (MSQ), it refers to all of the cutscenes, quests, etc, which are mandatory to complete the game. So to say that we want to finish it, is to mean that we want to have the MSQ in the game, playable, from start to finish by the end of the year.

The story for Gataela was written almost 7 years ago. In trying to get the first demo completed, and then the second one, it has sat there waiting to be added. By the end of the year we don’t want it to be waiting any longer.

However, that does not mean the game would be considered complete. We have a number of side quests and Kickstarter rewards to add to the game too!

Obviously our ideal is to have the game complete this year. However, after seeing how long it took to complete the demo update, we’ve decided to be a little more realistic. That’s why the goal is a little low-bar.

Otherwise, we will also be working on adding new SFX, more graphical updates to non-demo content, new maps, more story, gamepad support, more features and aiming for more platforms (consoles?)!

Thank you for all the support over the past years and we hope you look forward to seeing how Gataela grows this year!

December 2019 Progress Update

Hey everyone! Last month we released the demo update, and with that decided to take a break and do some planning! So, what’s up for the future?

Demo Release

As a reminder, the demo was released! We hope everyone enjoyed the updates we’ve made, and if you haven’t gotten around to it yet, we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback!

What’s Next?

This past month was spent mostly relaxing and taking a break. Taking a step back, planning for what we want to do and so on. There was a lot to reflect on process-wise, and a lot to look at what is left to get the game done.

Earlier this year we mentioned that once that demo was out we wanted to release beta updates every quarter to the beta testers. We want to keep to this promise, and so we’re currently targeting the next beta release for March 2020.

So what will be in March 2020’s release? Here’s a short list:

  • New debate
  • New story content & skits
  • (Some) Side quests
  • Turn-based battle improvements (ex. Dodge, Block, Crit animations, some UI improvements)
  • Planning for the future: unit testing framework, debate system workflow improvements
  • New battle animations
  • Preparing for Summer 2020 beta
  • Minor improvements and bug fixes

This will be our first attempt at having a planned beta release each quarter, so we’ll be focusing more on bug fixes, workflow improvements, and a little bit of story. The Summer 2020 update will likely be much larger, as the number of maps added will double the size of the current in-game world.

We’re also anticipating the next Gamemaker Studio 2 update, which should make cutscenes easier to script. However, large version upgrades tend to break things, so we want to make sure that we have testing in place so that if something breaks we know!

Otherwise, in December we will likely be streaming a lot from the 15 to the New Year! We look forward to seeing you all then!