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Thread: 📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #3

  1. #1
    Matt's Avatar

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    June 24th, 2016
    Los Angeles, California

    📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #3


    ISSUE #3                         THE VALE, QUILL                         20 OCT 2017                         ONE BRASS

    Bits and Bytes of Magic

    This morning I woke up (as I tend to do most mornings) and I meandered over to my desk and started up my computer (as I tend to do most mornings). Whilst my computer joined me in gradually waking for the day, I walked over to a drawer housing a small army of cables and connectors. I fetched a USB cord, returned to my computer, and plugged in my Yeti Broadcaster microphone. Then, reaching over to a nearby headphone stand, I plugged in my trusty ATH-M50x's. For you see, today was an important day. Today, the team and I were going to play through a major update of the Kynseed build - one of the biggest we've had thus far.

    As surprising as it may be, I've actually been careful to not play the latest builds of the game too much in recent months. The thing is, Charlie and Neal spend almost every day in the game and its editor. Every. Day. And when you spend that much time absorbed in a game's engine, it can be a challenge to retain objectivity when playtesting. So aside from some casual dabbling with the build here and there, today was the first time in a long time that I sat down to actually play the game. That said, this won't be a luxury I'll be able to afford going forward, as we're now entering the stage of development where we'll need all proverbial hands on deck playing the game as much as possible.

    So with Charlie and Neal on a group call, and a live stream of my desktop being sent to them 5,000 miles away at near-instantaneous speeds, I double clicked the little icon we've come to see so much of in recent months.

    The game started.

    It's impossible to remain impartial about the projects you work on, but seeing how far the build had come in the last few months filled me with genuine excitement. Gone were the invisible barriers in the prototype's farm. In its place, there was a world to explore. In fact, the game's regions were much larger than I was expecting them to be, particularly when compared to the humble size of Willowdown farm. Naturally, there's a gargantuan amount of content still needed for each region, but the basics of the world are starting to properly take shape.

    So with Charlie and Neal virtually looking over my shoulder from across an ocean, I played through much of what the build had on offer. I explored a quirky forest, visited the basic framings of what will eventually be a mysterious cave, picked dandelions, saw villagers walking around town and going about their schedules, visited a work-in-progress tavern, played with some of the early drafts of the job ledger menus, came across a few waterfalls, visited the blacksmith shop, looked at all the new character art and animations, saw red hot coals glowing in a furnace, used the brand new interface, listened to nearly an hour's worth of new soundtrack music, and I even bet on my first pig race - and won 3 Brass!

    It's an interesting experience to go from the prototype, something I spent innumerable hours in, to the current version of the build that I played earlier today. Though make no mistake, there's still such a long way to go and there's so much more to add. But we're getting there. As I see this world and its people slowly taking shape and coming to life, it all feels a bit like watching magic happen.

    Village People

    Young man! There's no need to feel down.
    I said, young man! Get yourself off the ground.
    And just go there, to Candlewych town,
    Where I...have...been...pla...cing tiles down.

    In the land of level design, I've been doing edging and cliffs for a number of the more underdeveloped regions. This means that the areas get a basic mark out, then the edges get defined and trees placed, then slowly features and more definition are added. We also got a load of great new tiles and objects this week from the wonderful Matthew Weekes, our trusty environmental artist. These include items for all the village people such as new paths, a lovely stone bridge, market stalls, market clutter, bunting, and more.

    Mining the Feedback Goldmines

    On the music front, we seem to be arriving at the point of development when the various assets we've been collectively working on are starting to be put together into the latest version of the build. This is extremely exciting! Up to this point, I was always trying to capture the musical vibe for a region I could not see, let alone play through. Charlie's written descriptions are often all I have to go on, but we're almost at the point where I get to see firsthand if my interpretations of those descriptions resulted in music that truly fits.

    There's more to it than just written descriptions though. For instance, it also matters how a piece of music is first introduced. What came before it? How well does it transition from that or from itself into whatever comes next? Does the player go back and forth into the area, triggering the same music over and over? How many eventualities are there for how the player will feel in an area and how flexible is that area's music in meshing with that? These, and many other examples, are all things that I have to consider for areas of the game that simply aren't yet there to be playtested.

    This, however, will finally change soon! On top of that, being able to see someone actually play and react to the game and its music is also very very important; first impressions are a feedback goldmine. As it happens, Charlie has been getting some sneak peeks of music running in the game already and when the game's designer mentions 'spine-tingles' concerning your music it, to borrow a reference from another game, 'fills me with determination'.

    Hopefully the insight garnered from these playthroughs won't result in too many rewrites for the music, especially as the list of music to write is still long and time is not infinite!

    Note from the Editor: Despite the ever-changing landscape of scientific consensus, all current theories suggest that time is, in fact, infinite. Development time for Kynseed, however, is another matter entirely.

    Building Buildings in the Build

    This week in code, things have mostly been about starting the process of refining things. With the team now conducting playthroughs together, we're now trying to push together all the pieces to get a feeling for how it's coming along. It's kinda fun in that what was once a lot of separate pieces now have to be fitted into shape like a jigsaw! The latest piece to go in from my side is events being in level (such as pig racing).

    Other than continued importing and refining of the editor/game for the playthrough, I've had a chance to use my new 'RTS' debug mode to figure out one pathfinding issue that now looks a lot smoother when they get to their final spot. I've also been continuing work on some building experiments, with the aim of making buildings sort of like the trees in our ComboSprite Editor. I've now sorted out collision for each part so they are solid when standing near. It's still a bit unclear as to whether this will be the best way to approach this problem but something is needed due to the current sorting issues for walls (and to answer the question of 'should there be a roof or not?').

    Two other things I've been looking into are development notes and in-editor summary information - the're probably a bit dry sounding compared to gameplay work but I think they are going to prove very useful for us in the upcoming week/months. I hope to write a forum post about them when I find the time. Speaking of which, time to dash! More work calling in preparation for upcoming team playthroughs!

    Candlewych Classifieds

    1 Hoe: Not used much. A little bit dirty. 5 Brass o.n.o.

    Pair of Big Juicy Melons: 2 Brass

    Pork Sword: Needs polishing. Just slip it in cider and it will be hard as iron. 4 Brass

    Bumper Book of Innuendos: Overused. Dates back to the 70's. Free to good home

    LOST: One of my carrots has gone walkabout. If you see 'im, tell 'im to come 'ome. 'is dinner is ready. - Worzel Scrumpy

    FOUND: 1 potato. Answers to the name of Spud. Has a missing eye. Collect from the Flailing Arms Tavern.

    Nature Lover: Female, 33. Likes cats, walks in the woods, ritual dances, and moonlight sacrifice. WLTM a MAN! Any MAN! Must like cats.
    Last edited by Matt; August 13th, 2018 at 11:56am.

  2. #2
    God's Avatar

    Join Date
    June 29th, 2017
    As always very exciting to read! All of you guys are excellent writers and it's so fun to read your posts.
    It's great to see that all the pieces are slowly coming together and I'm really looking forward to the next updates!

  3. #3
    Carbunkel's Avatar

    Join Date
    June 29th, 2017
    Loved the classifieds.

  4. #4


    Truly Fascinating.
    By the way which Mytholigy Are You Using Only Brittish? Or from around the world i am interested in this because this will change what events and what items we find OR maybe some areas have other types of mytholigies that would be interesting but so about the events and items.

    I hope you add one of any magic stones a lot of mytholigies have those maybe dont add them just mention them
    Like Kaarnakivi in estonia wich would be in english something like Ravenstone or something wich when you dont directly get from the crow or the raven it's power will fade i remember a story from the BOOK "kaarnakivi" of some uncle joe picking up a kaarnakivi and using its power and one day he wanted to fly but he ended up floating above he's house all day
    this mytholigy is also in Finland.
    Also in a lot of places there are these days where kids dress up as Travelers fomr a farawey landwith torn clothes and smeared faces running around singing dancing going into peoples houses dancing and singing for them giving them absurd riddles and giving crop luck and money luck also the people they go to have to give them treats or they will recieve bad luck.
    So basicaly very cool hobos.
    on Kadripaev kids dress as traveling women and on mardipaev as traveling men.

    Sorry for my grammar
    i couldn't make rhyme
    and I can't donate
    even a dime.

    -Random Weird Person

  5. #5
    Charlie's Avatar

    Join Date
    June 24th, 2016
    West Yorkshire, UK
    We are using mainly British and Irish, with our own takes on them, but also some European influences.

  6. #6
    Matt's Avatar

    Join Date
    June 24th, 2016
    Los Angeles, California
    It's that time again! Another issue of The PixelCount Post is freshly printed and ready for consumption.
    Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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