Category: Progress Update

February 2021 Progress Update

Hello everyone! We hope you all had a good start to the year. Here’s what we were up to for the month of January!

Beta Update

In case you missed it, the Beta Update went out a couple weeks ago! We added a lot of story, new debates, new skits, updated all of the existing SFX and much, much more!

Backer Rewards

We’ve started work on some of the in-game backer rewards. Below are some of the custom NPCs made by Owen!

Font Options

One of the things we’re planning to tackle this coming month is font options. We’ve been slowly adding accessibility settings to the game on an as-needed basis, and this is an option that has been requested a couple of times before. There’s a lot of work that needs to go into this, but here’s a sneak peek!

Battle Animations

Another thing we’re looking to add in this month is a bunch of new battle animations made by Owen and Louis! Look forward to seeing more gifs of these in the future!

January 2021 Progress Update

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a safe and relaxing holiday season. Here’s what we were up to during December and what our plans are for the new year!

December 2020

During December we primarily focused on developing the next beta update. We wanted to get it finished for the end of December before New Years, but between holiday breaks and spending time with immediate family it didn’t end up getting finished and tested. We have about one thing left for the release before testing, so look forward to seeing it later this month.

2020 Review

Before going into our plans for 2021, we want to give a brief roundup on and celebrate what we’ve gotten done in the past year.

  • Released 2 Beta Updates, 1 Demo Update
  • Upgraded to Gamemaker 2.3.x+
  • Revamped all of the SFX and added a few more
  • Completed the graphical update – all of the battle animations and all of the characters for the game have had their sprites updated
  • Added in a quarter of Gataela’s world
  • Restructured the skit and cutscene systems
  • Added some extra polish to the UI
  • Improved the TTBattles by adding criticals, dodge, escape and updating visual effects among other bug fixes
  • Added our first pass of fullscreen mode
  • Started work on adding new overworld tiles and new animations
  • Plus a ton of bug fixes and misc improvements

2021 Plans

Last year was a big year for structural changes and preparation for Gataela as we worked to put in more content for beta testers. We tried to do quarterly beta updates and they were more-or-less successful. We can’t say that the pandemic has not impacted our ability to complete them. As we expect more of the same as last year, here’s some of the big changes and things we’ll be attempting to get done:

  • No quarterly beta updates, they’ll be released when ready
  • Finishing all of the debate portraits & adding a few more
  • Adding more SFX and making new SFX
  • Creating new overworld tiles for new areas & to add more visual interest
  • Adding in more music and expanding the soundtrack
  • Creating new enemies, more battle animations, more VFX, and more creatures to make the world feel alive
  • Backer In-Game Reward Fulfillment
  • Adding more cutscenes & content

Most items are to be expected, but to briefly note on the quarterly beta updates, we’re largely making this change due to COVID and the on-going pandemic.

In 2019 while we were preparing for the updated demo we had internal milestones each month where we had a dedicated tester run through the content and note issues for us to fix. Our thought was that for 2020 we would be able to keep this up, and releasing quarterly would be absolutely possible. However the pandemic has greatly affected how we work, and when we work. In order to release quarterly the team needs to work in a very structured linear way, which isn’t possible anymore. So for those reasons we can’t guarantee when future updates will be. Thanks for everyone’s understanding, and we’ll be sure to let everyone know when they become available or when we feel one will be coming!

In the meantime, look forward to January’s update and have a good new year!

December 2020 Progress Update

Hello everyone! We hope everyone has had a good November. As we enter into the holiday season, we hope everyone continues to stay safe!

A New Challenger Approaches

Last month we mentioned that we’d be updating all of the old SFX and adding a few new ones. What we didn’t mention was just who would be doing that! We’d like to introduce Christoph who recently joined the team and will be making sure all of the SFX are sounding great!

Beta Update

Last month we spent a LOT of time working on writing out the cutscenes for the next update, which is why there’s not a whole lot of imagery we can show. We ended up adding a few more cutscenes more than we expected, and even an extra quest or two. We’ll be working on implementing them in the next couple of weeks, so look forward to some Twitch streams.

The next update in general will focus on the Lakure province, so that means the Main Story Quest, the NPCs and even the debates and other battles will all take place here.

We’re currently looking to release the update before New Years, but likely after Christmas.

Other News

In other noteworthy news, we’re starting to work on fulfilling everyone’s Kickstarter in-game rewards: custom NPCs and house interiors. Also to that end, we’ve begun to make a few more tiles for both landscapes and interiors. This should help bring some more visual interest to the world. We look forward to showing off all this work in the near future!

November 2020 Progress Update

Hello everyone! We hope you had a Happy Halloween! Here’s what we’ve been up to the past month!

Demo Update

In case you missed it, we released an update to the demo last month! We expected to update closer to the end of the month, but it was done earlier than we thought! We hope everyone has enjoyed the improvements we’ve been working on for the past year!

Beta Update

With the demo update out of the way, we switched back to working on the Beta Update! Most of last month was spent planning and writing, which doesn’t have too many visual things associated with it unfortunately! One thing worth noting is that we’ve made a small adjustment to the scope: we will now be updating all of the SFX, and adding a few new ones! We’ll have more information in the near future, but we hope you look forward to the coming change!

2021 Planning

Last month we did quite a lot of planning for the beta update, but we also spent time planning out the next six months of development. This past year we have tried to put out a demo update each quarter, because it fit in well with the story and the gameplay. Following the December Update, the story and gameplay will open up a lot, as shortly after your full party will be assembled, fast travel will be unlocked, and you will be able to go anywhere.

We would like to keep the final stretch of the game’s story a secret until the full version is launched, so there’s the question of “What should we put in for beta updates?”. To be honest, we are still working to figure that out. Some games release updates based on regions or features, and theme them around that, which is one option we are considering. In order to do that though, it will mean that updates will no longer be quarterly, as some sections of the game can be added within a quarter, while others cannot.

We’re considering many things, and will have some more information in the new year, in the meantime, please look forward to more news about the Beta Update in December!

October 2020 Progress Update

Hello everyone! Welcome to the spooky season! Here’s what we’ve been up to for the past month!

Battle VFX Upgrades

This month we wanted to show off some of the Battle VFX Upgrades we’ve been working on!

TT Battle System (2016)
TT Battle System (2020)

In the old battle system layout, we had the layout of the screen be top-to-bottom instead of left-to-right. We got a lot of feedback on this, and ended up changing the layout, but that meant that all of the battle animations needed to be changed with the new view. So if you played the old demo there were a lot of skills available, but if you’ve played the new one, there were not nearly as many.

We’ve been making good progress on this recently, so below are a couple animations that will be available in the next few beta updates.

Bullseye Skill
Hammer Blow Skill
Gust Attack

Cutscene Upgrades

Last month we talked about the cutscene upgrades we’ve been working on, and we promised to go into some depth on the kinda changes we were making from a coding and workflow perspective. As a quick reminder, this work was necessary to fix a number of bugs with the old system, and streamline the workflow for the rest of the cutscenes for the game.

Old
New

The old cutscene system used the timeline asset provided in Gamemaker with each moment being a “node”. The idea was that other than in a few places, each cutscene would be more or less linear, so it would work well. However, we started to find a lot of issues with this. For example, you can’t reorganize moments easily, you can’t insert moments either. If we wanted to making a small change to the cutscene it was a lot of work. We also noticed that a lot of these nodes were very empty code-wise.

Old Layout
Empty Nodes

At this point in development, content addition is what we spend the most time on, and not so much on bug fixes and engine-level issues. So maps, NPCs, quests, and cutscenes need to be easy and quick to add, edit and delete.

One of the other main issues with the old cutscene system was that the API we chose was very verbose, and wasn’t very specific on what we were trying to do during the cutscene. In the example below creating actors, changing the BGM and playing a SFX were not obvious at a glance. Now it’s much more clear about what we are doing.

Before
After

We also did a lot of copying and pasting of code because typing out the full function or also including all of the options was very time consuming. When we need to write out the same sort of information over and over again, we can simplify it by using wrappers around these functions.

Before

After

Thanks to these changes, the improvements with the workflow was felt immediately. It was much easier to remember what the functions were, and it took much less time to rewrite all of the cutscenes than it was to add them in the first place. Everything is also much more streamlined, and we fixed a large number of bugs. We went from something like this:

To something like this:

Demo Update

So with all that said, the game is now stable again. There’s still a number of improvements we would like to make behind the scenes to clean up and streamline a bunch of code, but for now we can call the Gamemaker 2.3 Upgrade complete!

We’ll be working on doing some regression testing to make sure everything is good, and work on releasing an update for the demo near the end of the month! Afterwards, we’ll be back to working on the Christmas beta update!