May 2020 Progress Update

Hello everyone! We’re hoping Spring has sprung and you’re all enjoying the weather. Here’s what we’ve been up to for the past month!

Maps

Something we’ve been doing a lot of recently has been adding new maps (i.e. game levels) to the game. In a previous update we mentioned that the Q2 release will be quite large since we are working on doubling the current overworld size. This is just a small preview of some things we’ve been adding: Steam Factories!

Once more of the towns and cities are added we plan to show some of the new areas off in more detail. But for now we hope you enjoy this!

Status Points

A small improvement we made last month was how we handled Status Points

When your party members level up, they gain status points which can be used to improve individual stats. A common problem that people run into while playing is that they will level up and forget to set the status points.

An improvement we made a while ago was a reminder on the main menu screen that you would have status points to apply. However, that wasn’t really enough, as people would go from one battle to the next without entering into the menu.

Generally speaking, setting one or two points can make a very big difference in battle, so after going through a whole area, and then facing a boss, you might find yourself in a lot of trouble. In fact, lots of people failed when fighting the first boss battle because they forgot to set points.

We came up with a couple ways to approach the problem:

  • Forcing the player to select the status points on the level up screen after a battle (ex. Paper Mario & TTYD)
  • Putting a new icon on the HUD indicating your had status points to spend, and clicking on it would bring you to the status screen

The first case is very, very restrictive and limits the player from doing “no point” runs or hording a bunch of status points for later when they feel things get tough. It also keeps you from looking at your party as a whole and deciding what would work best.

The second option is far less restrictive, serving as a reminder, but it does add another element to the HUD. Also, arguably, it may not solve the issue of forgetting to set the points.

We asked twitter in a poll which option (or another?) they would find would work best, and came up with this:

Most people who filled out the poll would prefer the less restrictive option, so we worked to add a new icon to the HUD. Now beside the Main Menu button, there is a reminder that Status Points are available to be set. Clicking on it will bring you right to the Status screen!

Thank you to everyone who filled out the poll! We hope this will help solve the problem, and we’ll see how it does during the next beta release!

What’s Next?

We are still plugging away at the next beta release, and working to add in the new maps, NPCs and other story events. We’ve been asking a few polls here and there on twitter and will be showing off some more results from them in the near future.

We hope everyone keeps well, and we’ll see you all next month!

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!

0.2.0 Release Notes

Summary

This is the first beta update of 2020! As mentioned previously, this update is fairly small to both get in the habit of quarterly releases, and also to prepare for Summer’s beta release which will be quite large.

This update continues the main story, adds a new debate, skits, new art, and contains a number of bug fixes and enhancements.

We recommend making a copy of your save files (the .sqlite files) in your game directory before continuing. There should be no issues, but we do upgrade the files in this release.

If you come across any issues, feel free to send us a Tweet or DM, message on the Discord Server, or shoot us an email.

Release Notes

Added

  • Added a number of maps for Q2 release – currently inaccessible
  • Added a block animation for when the Block skill plays. Note: block is still not fully implemented
  • Added a dodge animation for when the Dodge skill plays. Note: dodge is still not fully implemented
  • Added swapping party members
  • Added a level indicator to enemies in turn-based battles
  • Added NPCs in the market when coming back from Cole’s encounter
  • Added a number of enemy and player name strings to the translation file
  • Added new debate facts
  • Added a new main story quest
  • Added new skits
  • Added a new debate
  • Added new quests which will function as main story quests or side quests depending on past actions
  • Added an animation to text boxes when they appear
  • Added Battle Critical Font
  • Added load from save on the game over screen
  • Added color variations for Bandit Girl and Bandit Boy characters
  • Added the ability for enemies to have randomized color variations & ensured they matched the overworld when engaging with them
  • Added dialogue to man outside Vuni’s inn
  • Added a blocker to Wiska Forest to prevent early entry
  • Added Wislaw’s sprites
  • Added unit tests for some utilities

Fixed

  • Fixed UI briefly appearing after transitioning screens before an event plays
  • Fixed camera abruptly jumping to follow Rob in opening cutscene
  • Fixed crash in inventory when no items exist
  • Fixed camera during Cole’s encounter from having a tangent with the outside wall
  • Fixed lists accidentally cutting off Text
  • Fixed player sprite ordering issue in mountains near border with chimney
  • Fixed transition bug to the north east of Pharyon
  • Fixed missing boundaries near the mountain flower field
  • Fixed transition bug when heading between the Villa and the Town in Wynoa
  • Fixed main menu opening with interact key
  • Fixed text for post-Wiska Forest quest to be clear where to go in Wynoa
  • Fixed being unable to interact with the innkeep npc or use the inn in Vuni
  • Fixed learned recipes not being saved properly
  • Fixed crafting resulting in the wrong learned recipe
  • Fixed key items not being readded to the crafting grid after experimenting
  • Fixed a bug where you could accidentally soft-lock the game by interacting with the minimap just after starting a cutscene
  • Fixed typo in opening cutscene
  • Fixed player getting stuck when transitioning in to western Wynoa
  • Fixed sprite overlay issue in eastern Wynoa
  • Fixed character walking in place after battles
  • Fixed ambience audio blipping out when transitioning screens
  • Fixed area name continuously appearing when standing on a trigger
  • Fixed hidden collidable objects being interactable
  • Fixed transition bug in mountains
  • Fixed a HMS format bug when playing for over 10 hours
  • Fixed Big Meanie skit not being removed after the relevant quests

Other

  • Replaced Battle Damage Font
  • Made running children unstoppable
  • Refactored how quests are stored and loaded
  • Made the Turn Based Battle Results Screen show all characters that leveled up
  • Updated cutscenes and overworld NPCs to use the new bandit color variations
  • Adjusted some dialogue during the flower hunt quest
  • Upgraded saved files to gain facts in previous cutscenes
  • Incremented version number

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!