0.3.0 Release Notes

Summary

The Summer Beta Update is here! As mentioned previously, this update is quite large, as we’ve finished off the story in the province of Wynoa for now, and have moved on to province of Lakure!

We’ve added a large number of maps, skits, story, a new dungeon, a new party member and new art, along with more bug fixes and enhancements.

Please note that due to the current work to rebalance the economy and battles that the new province lacks items and enemies in the overworld. This will be adjusted over time, as the next beta update plans to flesh out the province more.

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. Bug reports and feature requests can also be logged here.

Release Notes

Added

  • The province of Lakure: 24 new overworld maps
    • Note: The game now has 50 overworld maps.
  • The towns of Itaea, Roatte and Lakure
    • Note: Lakure is temporarily blocked off for the next content update.
  • A new dungeon
  • More skits
  • A new party member
  • A chance to fail escaping
  • Max and min inventory item counts
  • Gamepad configuration options – not currently available
  • HP bars will now change color to better reflect remaining percents
  • Gameover modals
  • A short input delay when a text box appears to prevent spamming the button and missing key dialogue
  • New enemy types
  • When a character levels up, they will gain new skills if appropriate
  • A shortcut to adding points to your character’s stats
  • Criticals and Misses have been added to battles
  • Debate results screen will show everyone who has levelled up, similar to the Turn-Based results screen
  • A new cutscene system.
    • Note: There is a mixing of old and new cutscene systems now. After the 2.3 Gamemaker update during Q3 or Q4 we will be transitioning to the new cutscene system to fix a number of annoying bugs, such as flashing screens, or disappearing NPCs.
  • Confirm changes modal to a number of menu screens
  • New difficulty options: modify the enemy’s EXP and HP values using a multiplier.
  • Skills can level up after use

Fixed

  • Block and Dodge now work correctly
  • Skill information not being included when calculating battle damage
  • Equipment information not being included when calculating battle stats
  • Boss battles being marked as being escape-able
  • Line beside skit button on the HUD
  • Party members were not correctly executing their actions in the right order during battles
  • Shadow appearing wrong in Vuni behind a house
  • A number of bugs in the Equipment Screen
  • Tile checking for water was incorrect
  • Potential save crash

Other

  • Added a number of unit tests to verify stability of the game in key areas going forward. Along with adding the framework for simulating battles to balance the game better, this will help avoid users finding potential bugs.
  • Added command-line building of Gataela and a nightly process to run unit tests. This will ensure that if the game breaks, we’re notified the day of, instead of during testing. Should result in more stability going forward.

June 2020 Progress Update

Hello everyone! We hope that everyone is staying safe and doing well! Here’s what we’ve been up to for the past month!

Battle Improvements

Last month we made a number of improvements to the turn-based battle system focusing around RNG, and worked to ensure that they functioned properly. Such as adding crit, missing, and escape failures back into the game.

In the November demo release we removed the RNG capabilities from the turn-based battles. The main reason was that we couldn’t ensure that if we said a skill activated 30% of the time that it actually did. It required a lot of manual testing, and if by chance we were mistaken and it really worked 3% of the time, then people might become very frustrated with the battles.

As many readers of these posts know, we’ve been working to add unit testing into the game, particularly for stability and battle simulations, but also to ensure these types of situations work properly. It is very easy for a computer to simulate 100 uses of the skill and make sure they are used more-or-less 30% of the time.

A lot of that work has now paid off, and with some fixed up algorithms, we’re comfortable to add a lot of these features back into the battle system. We hope you look forward to them!

Beta Update

Now for some exciting news! The next beta update is scheduled to be released this month! We’re working on finishing up the release and doing a lot of testing and adjustments, but we hope you’re looking forward to it!

We’ve updated the roadmap for this release, and some of the big things coming your way include:

  • A load of battle improvements: HP bars changing colors, criticals, missing attacks, escape failures, equipment & skill stat fixes, and more!
  • A new dungeon!
  • The overworld has doubled in size: new towns, & locations to see and explore!
  • A new party member!
  • More story!
  • And a few other things here and there~

The Fall release has also been updated, so take a look and we’ll be going in more depth with what we have planned for it next month!

What’s Next?

Obviously, we’ll be working to get the release out around the end of the month. Otherwise, we’re looking to focus on improving the cutscene system post-release to fix a number of bugs related to it, and we’re currently evaluating Gamemaker Studio 2.3 to upgrade when it leaves beta status.

Keep well, and we’ll see you all soon!

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!