• Game Update #7

    04/02/2017

    These past few month have been incredibly productive. I refined existing mechanics and added lots of little details. As a result the game feels much more “game like” than before. Graphics wise we have got 3 areas nearly covered, the worldmap is basically done and system graphics like textboxes have also been improved.

    No random battles

    I prototyped several ideas about how you enter battle, including: random, fixed positioned enemies, Wild Arms/Velsarbor style “!”, an encounter gauge where you enter battle when it’s full and some more.
    I finally settled on a map enemy with swarm like behavior. They can guard chokepoints/items, partol an area, etc. The point is that they are an active game element that can influence the routes you take.

    Early prototype of swarm AI where they appear out of nowhere (you can now see them before they charge you.

    As a bonus the swarm nicely fits our theme and story.

    The new battle system (again)

    This is the 3rd battle system I made. The previous one was good in itself, but didn’t play nicely with maps and required huge amounts of work for the graphics (a minimum of 16 frames per enemy). As there are going to be quite a lot of enemies, this turned out to be just too much work. Now we have reverted to a classical turn-based sideview system on a separate screen. Don’t worry though, it’s not classical in the sense you will just mash the attack button.

    Battles are still turn based, you can take as much time as you want. I don’t want to spoil too much, so I will just say that Items are going to be a very important resource. In other games you can get by not using any items at all (Final Fantasy). This will not be case here.

    Nightvision

    Some areas are going to get really dark. So dark you can’t actually see anything. But you are lucky to have a companion with a pair of night vision eyes. You will be able to toggle to night vision at any point. They are primarily useful in dark areas though.

    A new graphics artist joining in

    A few month back Sebastian and I came to the conclusion that we need another person helping with the graphics. An RPG needs lots of tiles, sprites, pictures and more. Doing that all by yourself is a pretty huge task, especially when you are a studying as well.
    Luckily we have found Jason, who has been just fantastic to work with. I found him by reading a gamedev article on his website (which are really good btw). Since then the project has progressed at a much higher pace.

    One of Jasons tilesets in action

    Final Notes & more pics

    Also, we have an announcement coming up in a few weeks.
    You can follow us on twitter to stay up to date to get notified about blog posts.

    the worldmap

    weapon shop interface

    passing tunnels

  • Condorra – Game Update #6

    10/01/2016

    Hello, this is Game Update #6 for Condorra.
    Condorra is an old school 2D-RPG with a direction based battle system.

    Finished the first Dungeon

    So finally we are moving more into creating the actual maps. We experimented a long time until we felt the look to be right. Once we had that settled it was actually pretty fast to create the maps. We normally start by laying out the terrain, then fill it with details (flowers, stones on the ground, etc.). The next part was placing enemies which is trickier than you think because in Condorra, the battle can take place in 4 directions. Here is a screen showing the start and end-areas of the first map respectively:

    start

    starting area

    statue

    a mysterious statue at the end of the first map

    Battle System Changes

    You can now see the battle direction in the top left corner at all times. This is because all abilities/attacks are affected by it, so it’s pretty important. The other big change is that abilities now consume Ability Points (AP). Normal attacks and items are free to use. Instead of the flee command you now can defend/skip a turn. Don’t worry, there are still ways to flee from battle.

    battle

    The next post will focus more on battles.

    Concept Art

    The first area will have 3 normal enemies and 1 Boss. Sebastian always sketches them out so we can quickly decide if we like the direction.

    sketches by Sebastian

    sketches of the turtle and hornet enemies

     

    Editor Improvements

    Improving our own editor has been an ongoing process. While it sure is more work we can exactly define how we want to work. One such thing that always bothered me was that I didn’t really know what the player sees when I am in the editor (because the editor allows me to see more of the map). Sure I could always switch into the game and then go back to the editor but that was really cumbersome. So now I have this checkbox that darkens everything the player won’t see:

    the rectangle in the middle represents the player.

    the rectangle in the middle represents the player.

    Notice how I can immediately see what the player will see when he enters the map. In this case I want him to see there is a chest to the left, he just can’t reach it yet. While this overlay is toggled on I can still use the editor normally and edit the map.

    Next time we will focus more on battles, in particular the first boss battle. To not miss any news on Condorra be sure to follow us on twitter @frameland.

  • Condorra – Game Update #5

    09/16/2016

    Hello, this is Game Update #5 for Condorra.
    Condorra is an old school 2D-RPG with a direction based battle system.

    Actually starting with the first Dungeon

    While we don’t want to spoil too much, we will tell you that the first area you will control your character is in a forest. First we spent some time thinking about the layout of the dungeon. Then we identified the main points and build the map around them. While the main pathway will be very clear, Condorra is a game with lots of secrets. Hidden passages lead to items, weapons or even secret locations.

    Left: a general area in a forest Right: a secret area

    Left: a general area in a forest
    Right: a secret area

    Graphic Improvements & Autotiles

    Last time, we implemented a new version of Autotiles. We hoped it would help us create better looking maps without increasing our time to develop them. I am happy to say that it’s looking better than we expected. And it’s much easier designing maps this way as opposed to laying out every single corner tile by hand.

    A town on the overworld. Using only 2 Autotiles for the ground.

    A town on the overworld. Using only 2 Autotiles for the ground.

    Menus and Tech Stuff

    Apart from tiles we can now also places pictures on the map. As well as Particles. I integrated all that into the editor so you can easily place them in the level wherever you want. You can then also editor the pictures/particles properties and it will all be saved with the map. E.g. we can place cloud pictures on the worldmap and set their parallax values to let them appear as real clouds.

    Last week I mostly spent on standard things most games need (Condorra needs them at least):

    • Savepoints
    • Save/Load Menu
    • Main Menu Base
    • Choices dialog
    • Titlescreen

     

    For next time we will probably focus more on battles, as the first Area is mostly done.