ISSUE #52                              THE VALE, QUILL                              18 MAY, 2019                              ONE BRASS

The Short Report

Another week rolls by and we're one step closer to finishing up our current optimisation update. Which as we've said before, isn't so much about 'optimisation' per se, but rather it's a flexible update to give us time to tend to longterm engine work - such as perfecting our developer tools like the Cutscene Editor discussed last week.

On that front, Neal has continued work on polishing up more Cutscene Editor bits in addition to doing some work on our UI Editor, which also received attention this week. Art has been pushing through some amazing things as well: Weekes has been preparing beautiful field tilesets for an upcoming region and Gary has been making adult sprites as well as a few horrifying monsters. All to come in future content and feature updates of course, which you can read about on our roadmap.

Though currently, we'll need to start winding down work on this update so that we can get it ready for release. Although there won't be as many flashy obvious changes on the surface, there's still a good deal of work that's gone on behind the scenes, so we'll be sure to share a full changelog when the update gets pushed out to everyone. For those of you anxious to check it out, you can expect the update to go live middle of this upcoming week!

Putting Keyboards on the Map

This week I've improved some more on the Cutscene Editor, which turned out a little tricky. I've been trying to convert the Fairweather appearance sequence to use the Cutscene Editor because it was done via code originally (quite last minute to a deadline!) and so has always been a little painful to work with.

To do so required some new abilities for the Cutscene Editor (scaling objects and animating non-character sprites) and these turned out quite intricate to set up. I've also been working through Matt's feedback on the system which has been helpful in guiding the work. Otherwise I've been working on the setup for acquiring skills ingame with cooking (recipes) being the next one to get in. This went reasonably smooth, but does need clarity in its presentation.

The next step I'm taking a look into is keyboard mappings as an often asked for feature. It does feel a little like I'm getting buried in the details lately, but they do need filling in, so slowly the big picture will emerge...

Pushing Our Buttons

Over here at Chateau Matt, my humble home across the pond from Castle PixelCount, I've been keeping busy with various odds and ends in support of the current optimisation update. Last week I focused on our Cutscene Editor tool, so for this week I switched over to focusing on our UI Editor tool.

The UI (User Interface) Editor is, as you imagined, an editor for UI. Shocking. However, there's a surprising amount of depth to the tool, if only because a game like Kynseed has literal thousands of individual UI elements across the entire game - with more to come even! There's the game's menus, item inventory, player toolbars, combat elements, dialogue interfaces, all the jobs, all the job ledgers, and so on.

Having a quick and efficient way for the team to make changes to these element's appearance and positioning is crucial for keeping the team's efficiency well lubricated. (Everybody likes a well lubricated dev team.) This is where the UI Editor comes in. Much like the Cutscene Editor, using a tool opens up the creative process to the entire team rather than having it all remain housed deep in the code where only Neal can find.

For now, the biggest difficulty with the UI Editor is that not all UI elements are linked to it. A number of elements were added before we had the UI Editor in place, so many are still hard coded in. This means we've got to go through and identify which elements aren't linked to the UI Editor and make note of them. From there, Neal will track them down and get to work on linking them up.

It's a fairly tedious task at the moment, but once done it'll make for modifying UI as we go much much easier. Kynseed is a game with lots of moving parts and new parts are getting added constantly, so the gobs of UI we have tend to be in a very constant state of flux during development. That'll continue to be the case for some time, but with the UI Editor we'll soon be able to polish it up as we go with far more efficiency.

Though for now, it's back to the grindstone. Literally. I'm working on the blacksmith UI.

Keeping It Mellow

Another week flies by. Does anyone else feel time is speeding up?

As I had hoped, I was able to hand in a couple of iterations of the leitmotiv I talked about last week. It won't be until the corresponding scenes can be made in the new Cutscene Editor that we can really test out these themes within the game itself, but even outside of the game you should be able to get a feel for what they're trying to communicate.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get the most out of my MasterClass pass before it runs out. I'm learning a lot of technical things that should be transferable to many a situation. I'm also eager to get to work on additional cutscenes that can now be made with the new editor. I've also made a list of little adjustments I want to make to some tracks in the Mellowfields region.

The more I listen to previously made tracks, the more little things I notice. It never stops, and I don't think it ever will. But I take it as a sign that my ears are getting better at picking up tiny details.

Next weekend I'll be off to a medieval festival to do percussion. It'll be a nice change of pace and hopefully some fresh musical influences. Not too long after that it'll be time to get on a plane to LA! I'm SO excited about E3 this year!

An Ill Wind

This week I was on a bit of a dietary change to try and get myself back on order and it had the effect of giving me more energy. I waded into design docs, doing new ones and tweaking old ones.

One of the designs still not there was for the ailments the people of Quill can get. When you own the apothecary, you will get customers coming in and you can sell them 'off the shelf' items or go craft them there and then. However, the system was a bit of a mess and the shop side was lacking. So now, NPC's will come in and you ask what the problem is.

They'll give you between 1 and 3 symptoms. If just one, we call it a 'PickMeUp'. And if 2 or 3, it's a 'Malady'. Maladies have a visual effect to help identify them and add some amusement, and more info on them can be found in Medical Tomes and Proverbs. Each symptom has a cure and the player can select these in a notebook and create a prescription. This acts like an order book and can be passed to a staff member to mix or make yourself.

NPC's may also just want to buy a dye or perfume, and you can craft anything you want and the Traits will take care of it. Want the perfume to make them fart? Mix in ingredients with Flatulence Trait to one with Scent. You can make powders, creams, and potions, then store them in the shop cabinet or even take them with you.

We're hoping the player will get a lot of fun from the system and get a nice feeling from crushing, grinding, distilling, and mixing. "Oh hello sir, seems like you have a touch of Flamefart. I have just the thing..."

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