ISSUE #57                              THE VALE, QUILL                              7 JULY, 2019                              ONE BRASS

The Short Report

Progress continues along on the forthcoming Goods Store update. Neal has been chipping away at his list o' things for this update and it's all starting to come together. One of the trickier things with this update is that we've added in some new systems for overall world economy and balancing. Such systems will play an important role for any business owning player, but the challenge is we want non-player owned businesses to generally follow the same systems.

Ensuring that level of economic consistency is an involved task, but an important one. It's those sort of things that bring us closer to giving the world that 'sandbox' feel that we want. In this way, the Goods Store and its ancillary systems will be a big help in adding depth to the game's business ownership. We're getting so close to pushing the update out we can taste it. update taste.

Wheels in Motion

Been mainly testing/playing the build this past week, as well as getting ahead on future story stuff and clearing up some old design docs for the update after next.

We got a couple of new characters through from Gary: Marshtyt the Master Gardener and a Druidic wedding priest, who looks like he likes a sip of altar wine and longs for the old days of blood sacrifice. Weekes has been pumping out more environment art, with a lot of UI stuff including the Larder, which you stock to keep your family fed. I am looking forward to seeing him create the 'Wheel of Copulation'...something we will reveal on Twitter in the coming weeks.

Matthijs (Tice) has been making lovely sounds. Caz, our icon artist, has started on the Master Items list (there's a lot to do!) and Mr Allen has been busy prepping the update stuff for the stores and various social media gubbins. So it's busy busy....but my hat tips off to the mighty Neal who has been working through the complex nightmare that is the Goods Store and has done fantastic work.

Right then! Back to testing and trying not to get distracted by Antstream Arcade...

See the Future

This week saw yet more progress on the Goods Store update. It's been a tough week to get everything all working correctly with all the needed items done. It is firmly staying in the single digits and in fact down to the last couple of items on the list today (but then likely a new playthrough will bring up more).

This week's big contributors to time (and also improving the Goods Store experience in general) is dynamic balance. Such as where the shoppers come from based on tracking the rep balance and getting shops to start working the same when the player doesn't own the shop. So progress is still happening and it's getting ever closer, but it has seemed like every build I made this week just had at least one little thing off that needed looking into and it kind of adds up into slowing down progress on the remaining items.

I think also nearly every day I've been predicting or expecting to get things ready the next day but then it doesn't work like that! Perhaps that's in fact the general rule: if you predict/expect a perfect outcome down to the day, the likelihood of it happening is pretty low. It will be a good feeling when it finally does happen though!

Mist Opportunities

This week, other than the continuing effort to remodel my studio, I turned the draft I did last week into a full length track and I finished the ambient track for the swamp. I'm quite happy with how they both turned out, especially when played at the same time. The ambient track will be for areas of the swamp that aren't that dangerous, but also won't be for areas that are too populated. Both of those examples will be getting their own ambient track.

Rather than the many frogs and flies and winds of the current ambient track, the more dangerous areas of the swamps will be quieter. Charlie talked about how a thick fog would muffle the sounds and remove all sense of wide open space. If I manage to get it to sound like what I have in mind, every little thing that you hear will jump out at you because of how quiet everything else is. I'm a big fan of Frank Darabont's The Mist', and I can't wait to evoke the same sense of creepiness! Plus, I already know from what I've seen the art team do...'there's something in the mist!'.

GIF in a Jiff

I started capturing a few GIF's for the upcoming Goods Store update release. Whenever I write up an announcement for any new update, I always like to include a handful of GIF's to sprinkle into the text. Typically, the function of these GIF's is to highlight recent feature/content additions in the update.

However, whenever the meat of an update is still being worked on, this usually means there's a lack of presentation polish in the meantime. Things like placeholder UI, animations not always lining up, and other little things like that. Because of this, I have to wait to make GIF's until the updates are nearly finished. (Presentation and UI polish is almost always the last thing done for any given update.)

The Goods Store update recently reached this point and so I've been running around the game world capturing GIF's of the new bits and bobs. As I talked about in last week's Post, I employ the use of our engine's debug mode to help speed things along for GIF creation. (Namely, giving myself enough Brass to buy the Goods Store instantaneously.)

Capturing game GIF's is an interesting process, one that always seems like it'd be easier and more straightforward than it ever is. Sometimes I feel a bit like a Quill photographer, roaming the countryside in pursuit of interesting things to take pictures of. I've actually been meaning to start streaming during my workdays some more, so perhaps I'll do so the next time I go on a GIF hunt.

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