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Thread: 📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #46

  1. #1
    Matt's Avatar
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    June 24th, 2016

    📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #46


    ISSUE #46                         THE VALE, QUILL                         25 MARCH 2019                         ONE BRASS

    The Short Report

    The "Down to Business" update was pushed out last week and with it our first forray into business ownership mechanics. There was also a hotfix released a few days after that, which you can check out in the changelog. Of course, longterm there'll be much more added to the game's business ownership mechanics.

    Though for now, we're switching gears from a feature-dominant update to a more content-dominant one in the upcoming "Gnome Pun Intended" update. Surely the star of this update is that we'll be adding a new Fae region to travel to and explore. This'll be the first time players will get to visit a Fae location and it's got a very different look as a result - complete with a color palette unlike anything else in the game. We're also adding in a few other things like a return trip to Fairweather, some new ingredients and effects, and even a new tongue-in-cheek gameshow called "Squeal or No Squeal", hosted by Gnome Edmunds. We're all rather looking forward to working on this for the next three weeks and we'll be sure to keep you all posted here as we go.

    Cutting Ledge UI

    This past week I got into looking at the UI with our environment artist Weekes and Neal. A lot of screens are basic boxes and we want to improve the visuals. So the Ledger and things like the Selling table really needed sorting out.

    We didn't look to Stardew Valley for inspiration but rather a game called Pathway. For our Ledger, it is about making it look more like a book with tables and notes and bookmarks. This should give a nice feel that you are accounting and taking stock from a big dusty old book.

    We also need to keep in mind both gamepad and KB&M controls, but feel we have a nice layout and look with all the necessary info clearly visible. I can just imagine players getting really in-depth with their business management, hunched over their Ledgers, by candlelight...

    Mano a Mono Combat

    Last week saw the next major update of Early Access go live. I had a busy following weekend with the test branch going out and having to fix several problems found on that. Fortunately, it was pretty quick to turnaround and get reasonably stable. I used the remainder of that week as an opportunity to dive into bugs mostly related with the update but also some lurking ones from a while back. It's been quite satisfying to solve these problems and I think it'll likely be a practice to take up after each update to try and reduce the buildup of issues.

    There are a few reports of some crashes on startup that need addressing too. The dilemma with these problems is that they seem to be very PC config specific, so it's not easy to prove a fix has worked without having a PC with the problem (and the problem can temporarily or permanently go away even just by restarting the game too). In addition, the potential solution (which is unproven to be 100% guaranteed given the aforementioned limited testing and the way the problem can go away) involves upgrading the version of MonoGame (the code framework for Kynseed's engine) that I'm using...

    This comes with a new set of problems with the possibility of new unknown issues which could affect more people worse than the current version! The current version has had a sufficient quantity of players over this last year to be reasonably confident that the majority of problems have been found and fixed where possible. It's a tricky balance in indie development I'm finding; to try resolving these issues once and for all when it could take weeks or more to fix the problems and then there's the bottleneck of my time being needed on updates as well. What I'm aiming to do is split off a chunk of time each week to making progress on it. Hopefully that should make inroads on the solution while still allowing update work to continue and maybe it might turn out my estimate on time taken to fix them is on the high side (fingers and toes most definitely crossed for that).

    A Kick in the Brass

    Since nothing new came up recently, my main focus has been this piece of music I'm not sure I can be very specific about. It's in-world music that takes place outside. This means it has to come from instruments that can be used outside. Brass, for the most part.

    British culture has a long tradition in brass bands, especially in miner towns. These are instruments that can withstand bad weather and can be played easily with big hands full of calluses. It'd actually make a lot of sense if the world of Kynseed had a brass band or two in it. Especially if there's a dedicated mining town in the game at some point.

    So for creating the sound of this special event, I've been thinking ahead to possibly link it to the sound of a future town. I'm hoping Charlie will agree with this line of thinking. Beyond that, with the recent update out the door (and I hope you're all enjoying it!), I get to focus on the next one. There'll be some interesting tasks ahead...

    On to the Next One

    It's always an interesting transition when concluding one major update while simultaneously starting another. Part of the mind wants to exhale and enjoy the satisfaction of completing a large task. Yet take it in too much and suddenly it gets near impossible to rebuild energy for the next large task.

    So keeping a brisk pace in the project is something I've found invaluable. In a way, it's more a matter of taking the satisfaction of completing one update and converting that into a fuel source to help motivate work on the next. That's why we've gone from our last update straight into the next without skipping a beat. Already we've conducted a playthrough of the next update's initial ideas and work is well underway as we speak.

    For myself, there's a wide range of things I'm needing to get done in these next three weeks, including a fair bit of video work even. There's also some game-specific work that I'm looking forward to diving into, ranging from doing a full pass over refreshing UI placement in addition to working within our cutscene editor tool to slowly start assembling various scenes, story points, and maybe even some small vignettes as I find the time.

    All in all, I'm finding the brisk pace effective in keeping my momentum going from update to update. There's a long ways left to go with the game, as our roadmap has no doubt made obvious, and while being indie does allow us the freedom to not have higher-up deadlines breathing down our necks, we also don't want the project to dawdle unnecessarily. Unless we randomly pivot the entire game over to a multiplayer 2D RPG Battle Royale, in which case we'll see you at release in a decade.

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  2. #2
    LynnSnow's Avatar

    Join Date
    June 29th, 2017
    "...a multiplayer 2D RPG Battle Royale..."

    inb4 Killseed

  3. #3
    Matt's Avatar
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    June 24th, 2016
    Quote Originally Posted by LynnSnow View Post
    "...a multiplayer 2D RPG Battle Royale..."

    inb4 Killseed
    definitely isn't writing that name idea down...

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