📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #67
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  1. #1
    Matt's Avatar

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    📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #67

     





    ISSUE #67                              THE VALE, QUILL                              24 SEPTEMBER, 2019                              ONE BRASS





    The Short Report
     

     
    Hello there! We're finally back to our regularly scheduled programming this week. As some of you have likely noticed, over the last couple of weeks Steam pushed out some updates to its site and desktop client which introduced a brand new way of posting news items such as these. Steam libraries on the desktop client have been undergoing some changes as well. However, this did have the effect of breaking all our images and formatting for issues of The Post as well as our roadmap on Steam, so Matt's been spending the last few weeks getting everything fixed back up for the new Steam layout. So today you may be seeing a small backlog of a couple of issues posted at the same time, as we wanted to make sure we didn't skip any - due diligence and all that.

    In fact, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for another news item to get posted within mere hours of this one. That's because we're happy to report that there's a new update now available! For those who have been following along, you may remember this was a bit of an impromptu update that we felt was important to sneak in before we began dedicated work on the relationship update. We've been casually calling it 'The In-Between Update' and it's allowed us to do some important work that had been piling up on the side.

    Although this update wasn't a planned pitstop on our roadmap, we're pretty happy with the amount of polish we've been able to add to existing systems and we've even managed to pack in a few new things while we were at it. All in all, this update will help give us a nice solid foundation to add atop for the relationship update and well beyond. So be sure to look for the proper announcement to drop a few hours from now with all the details!



    Piling on the Dialogue
     



     
    A slow week really that was up and down, mainly due to my acute sinusitis playing merry hell. When I managed to get going, I started writing piles of dialogue that NPC's may say in various situations. So these are things like: player riding a pig, player owning a shop, player with high rep, weather related comments, reactions to tools, pranks, player absence, age, and so on. (With variants for unfriendly and friendly NPC's.)

    We want the game to feel full of life and get away from the RPG cliche of NPC's stood in one spot repeating the same lines. This is where the Fable influence and our Lionhead heritage come in. Neal and I dream of PixelCount having that same Lionhead spirit and eccentricity - and maybe even one day attracting that same amazing talent (we would love to work with some old Lions again). Lionhead was a home to me, but without its death Kynseed would never have been born.

    So here we are, fulfilling our dream with the incredible support of our backers. We may fail (hopefully not!), but it would not be for lack of effort. We're pouring everything into this project and we're eternally grateful to have the chance to do it. And best of all, I get to write a stupid amount of references and daft jokes. Lionhead lives on within those words.



    One Day at a Time
     



     
    It's been an odd week again where the first half was flipped in an odd direction (too much concentrating on polish details of the UI) compared to the second half from Wednesday with the team chat being a pivot point. This time around though we made sure with the team chat to actually come up with a plan that covered the next week! It sounds common sense but it is remarkably easy to get trapped in trains of thought and patterns that stop common sense taking hold. So the plan is to finish the build this week, whereas last week was spent on final polish and additions (plus leaving a few days to bug fix and polish as time permitted).

    I had a similar common sense revelation the next day when I was in the midst of the remaining work. So part of the current update is about improving the Prologue with additional content and improving its flow - this had been written up into multiple design documents to go through. On the day while I was working through it, I was still caught up in the details and working in a linear fashion through those docs. Luckily I managed to pause myself for a quick break before diving into the Prologue's Day 4 work and on coming back to it realised how I'd completely forgotten to actually break down what work there was left!

    After spending an hour and a bit on that, I then had a list of the exact specifics remaining to do and could start rearranging it to be more efficient (grouping together similar tasks and seeing where I might need to ask questions). Within the next few days, I've been able to work much better without having to jump my thoughts around as much because I can just pick up where I left off.

    As I'm still in the midst of work to wrap up the build update while typing this, I'm going to leave it at that for today and wish you all a good week!



    Midi-evil Technology
     



     
    I'm escaping modern life this weekend! I cast out technology! Be gone, mobile phones! Away, computers! Leave my sight! I'm going back to the way things were in the 15th century!

    As it happens, I've got a weekend coming up where I play percussion at a medieval festival. It's a great way to get my head into a new space and gain some inspiration. I usually come back both tired and refreshed at the same time. Plus lately, a couple of non-Kynseed things have been pulling me in several directions at once. Some Gregorian music here, some brass band music there, even some voice work.

    I don't consider them distractions though, as they come in quite handy usually. A different angle of looking at things that come back in ways I don't always expect in whatever other project I'm doing, Kynseed included. You can see this quite clearly with the bard's music in the tavern, which is very obviously inspired by medieval lute playing.

    Though for now, I say goodbye to the internet and delve into a time when video games did not exist!



    Farming Crops
     



     
    While the rest of the team put the finishing touches on the latest build update, I spent the last couple of weeks working with the new Steam update and creating new images for it. You'd be surprised how many assets are needed to make up a store page for a game, and with the new Steam look rolling out this meant that I had to go back and remake many of our store assets from scratch to fit the new store page requirements and dimensions.

    Sometimes this meant something as simple as cropping an image to a new or different resolution. Other times it meant creating brand new assets that we didn't have made up until now (such as our Steam library image, which I think turned out rather nicely). Working with pixel art is all the trickier too, because many times it's not as simple as resizing an image to fit a new dimension requirement. With pixel art, if you're not careful, resizing the image can lead to a sort of blurring of pixels and they'll end up losing that pixel 'crispness'. So it's sometimes a bit of a dance trying to resize pixel art while always maintaining a crisp resolution.

    When not reworking our media assets for Steam's new look, I've been reworking our text. Things like our roadmap use some pretty elaborate formatting and some fancy trickery to get it to all look how I like. For example, Steam doesn't have any way to center items in a news post. However, I do know that Steam's maximum width for news posts was 622px wide. So if I had a 500px image that I wanted to center, all I had to do was add 61px of transparency on both sides and this would create a sort of feaux-center. Yet with the new Steam changes, news posts have gone from 622px wide to 800px wide, meaning that anything that I centered previously is now just a little off-center to the left.

    In danger of boring you all with pixel-based math, the short version of all this is that I had a fair bit of tedious media asset work keeping me busy as of late. There's still more to be done, but the brunt of it all is complete at least. Thankfully my role on the team here is precisely for times like this in which I step in to assist with production-based matters such as these (among other things) so that the rest of the team can continue to work uninterrupted on the game. That said, I'm rather looking forward to a change of pace next week with a bit of video editing and soundtrack work!



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  2. #2
    teineotter's Avatar

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    I love the new steam artwork! Thanks for all the hard work and making this amazing game!

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