Dev-Diary: 95

Apologies, I’m almost a week late on this one! ^,,^”

At the start of January I took a bit of time off to reset, and since then I’ve been utterly flat-out with work and personal commitments, which isn’t exactly a bad thing as I enjoy it all, but it did distract me enough to forget to write this post, sorry!

My work with Radioactive Magic is still going strong on Pok├ęStudy; we’re in the home stretch of the remaining episodes now, plus possibly some related extra content as well. My little side project Silver Ambience is a little behind schedule, however my musician Lattitude has been playing around with some ideas so we might see a fresh batch of tracks up there soon~!

Of course to no-one’s surprise, roll has been the main focus of my time lately. As I said in my last post, my current goal is to get the game to a stand-alone playable state. What I mean by this is I can put the game into someone’s hands and just step back, allowing the player to learn and experience the game without my guidance or saying “oh this’ll get fixed soon” or “ah you need to press this that to do this sorry” constantly. Quite frankly actually, after the recent dedication of work, I’d say it’s basically there! A player picking up the game will have the game enter an (almost completed) tutorial with some simple guidance and story-telling, and many of the base features are now present. Without going into too-much detail, I’ll share some more focused updates that have been added over the past month-ish:

  • Tutorial: As I said, the tutorial is complete(-ish)! Although it still needs a small tweak here and there, it has almost everything it currently needs. It successfully takes the player through a preset world explaining some of the basic understandings of how to play the game and presenting examples of what can be discovered in the procedural runs, of course paired comfortably with a dash of lore. There are definitely aspects of the tutorial that will need to be reshaped for the final game, but for achieving the immediate goal of functional and playable demo, I am very happy with how this serves. It’s found it’s way into a few hands already and the response thus-far has been consistently positive.
  • Menus: An incredible amount of work has gone into optimising the game menus. Everything from automation to optimisation, a lot of the back-end for the menu navigation has been drastically simplified and made easier. There is also now special visual backdrop containing customisable background effects for whatever each menu requires. In addition to optimisations, I’ve also finally added one of the main features of the game, the Story Menu (currently in-game known as the ‘Stars Menu’). This is the place where all the progress of many of your collectibles will be displayed, predominantly unlocking stories and passages that both unravel the game’s world and just talk a bit about life. This is also the main area that will feature a lot of the incredible artwork that is in the works, with each story pairing with a beautiful piece.
    The menu itself features a lot of custom UI functions I’ve whipped up such as an automated scroll bar that also acts as a tracker showing the player’s unlock progress, as well as a unique swipe mechanic that allows you to scroll through unlocked stories as well as scroll through the text of those stories. There is still more to work on here; the aforementioned art needs to be included (in it’s draft state currently), and later down the line I’d also like to include voice-overs that read through the stories, which will work especially well for some of the passages that are more musical in nature.
  • The End: So this is a very small update, but I thought it worth mentioning for the sake of showing progress, as well as just explaining another one of the game’s features. The End is (very creatively) the name of the entity that causes a run in the game to end, visually represented by a black shadow chasing the player down. There will be a game-mode available where the player can disable this entity allowing them to freely and peacefully explore the worlds, however the main game uses The End as a means to keep the player moving, while also acting as a the game’s challenge. There is also a nice bit of lore and meaning behind it’s function, but I won’t go into that here. Now this mechanic has been included in the game since the beginning (originally, and still in much of it’s code, referred to as “Danger Zone”), but while working on the tutorial recently I saw a bit of an issue with how it worked.
    The End is meant to slowly accelerate towards the player, giving the them plenty of time to explore early-on, but providing a steadily increasing challenge as it accelerates and catches-up to the player. As the player unlocks upgrades through gameplay, as well as generally improves their skill, they will be able to better navigate the worlds and outrun The End for longer, discovering more of the distant features and secrets. Since it’s original implementation, this mechanic relied on Time; essentially it would continuously up-tick it’s speed as a run went on. There was never any issue with this even with other mechanics stopping and starting the functions (such as the Pause Menu and the Calm power-up), and quite honestly it could have operated fine as Unity handles delta time rather well, but I saw a better way! I’ve since reworked The End to now base it’s speed upon the distance from the center of the world where the player begins their journey, an obvious option in hindsight hahaha~ This means that, no matter where it is nor how much time has passed, the entity will always know exactly how fast it needs to be traveling. Essentially, even though the room for the error I foresaw was astoundingly small, I’ve since removed that possibility. The End itself still needs some tweaking in-regards to it’s speed and acceleration, and this will continue as I also need to fine-tune the player handling a bit as well, but it was a small little update that I thought was a story worth telling~

I’m going to end it there for now; I could have gone into a more detailed rant about some of these features, but these posts aren’t change logs, they’re just a place where I get to have a fun chat about how my projects are going and share with you my journey. Plus I need to get back to work hahaha~ So I’ll leave it here; remember to continue to be wonderful and supportive to one-another and I hope everyone has a fantastic new year. Till next time, all the best~