Four years ago, Justin Mollenauer and I started this project as a “small tactical game” that we thought would be built and released in about a year’s time. It was on the heels of shelving a much larger game project that we had put 10 months into and realized we were nowhere near equipped for in terms of money, time, and understanding.
So here we are! I haven’t written a devblog in something like 16 months and there’s a ton of progress, polish, and changes to show. We have a new website (that you are currently on) because I found Wordpress to be very slow and problematic, so we’ve moved to a simple Squarespace site for now. I’m obviously bad at making regular updates in this form, but I'm going to try and post monthly check ins that are pretty casual and less time intensive than our previous update structure.
First, let’s look at the starting town, Pell, over the last 3 years. These images are screenshots taken during development at those times, so they aren’t a direct 1-to-1 of the same screen.
The last image is almost identical to the assets we have now, in the final version of Pell. However, there are a number of things that previously wouldn’t be missing from a screenshot, which is why I largely only showed still images of the game: Animations.
Below is are gifs of Pell now, with trees swaying in the wind, animated grass clusters, and little puffs of smoke billowing from the chimneys.
I’ve put most of my time since March into animating world objects and integrating those into the game with as little surgery as possible. I honestly thought it’d take a lot longer to make this change, but I’m happy with the results and how much life it gives the world. Here are some other areas in Chapter 1 that show some animation elements not present in Pell.
In looking at these gifs you probably notice that Arnen looks a bit different than he used to. That’s because we have a new character artist! Christine has given new life to our main characters and will continue to work on full character designs for all of the party, the main antagonists of the game, and some of the recurring NPCs. Here is a group shot of the starting four allies and their new portraits.
Those are the core changes that have happened in the last year or so. As far as where we currently are in development, we have playable events well into Chapter 2 now, putting us just shy of halfway through the game’s story content. I’ve finished the final round of art rework and polish and am now into making art for the big magic city in Chapter 3. Andrew and I are still working on the soundtrack, with polishing there as well. Justin has built out all of the tools that I need for building the game and has started to rebuild some of the original systems so they work better (and produce less bugs). Our UI system is nearly finishing being rebuilt as part of this effort. Emmanuel has been off on other crazy adventures but I’ll coordinate with him soon on some new sound design work. Christine is consistently working through character designs for our cast, and Caz is going to start animating a whole pile of fun trinkets and glowy things for the magic city. Once that’s a little more fleshed out, I’ll coordinate with Casey to go in and add in little bits of writing for all of the interesting things you’ll find there.
I’ll leave you with some more gifs of different areas in the game so far since what I’ve shown so far is largely green. We’re all working hard on this thing, so if we’re in the aether for a while, don’t worry!