📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #15
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Thread: 📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #15

  1. #1
    Matt's Avatar

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    June 24th, 2016
    Los Angeles, California

    📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #15


    ISSUE #15                         THE VALE, QUILL                         12 JAN 2018                         ONE BRASS

    The Pickup Artist

    This week I have been distributing collectibles - the ingredients, proverbs, and other stuff you can collect. Having this stuff populating the nooks and crannies makes exploring worthwhile as we can all agree.

    Also did a few playthroughs and discovered that the first few days are running back 'n forth to the village, so I have tweaks ready to implement to get the player around The Vale more. It's a lovely experience, exploring. The music, ambient sounds...so easy 'n nice to play. Tweaks to the controls make it even nicer: LB will now dismount the pig so you can interact while riding with A. RB no longer drops a held item so you can run with an object held; B now drops it.

    Such tweaks are making the game more pleasant. Still lots to do but the magic is emerging...

    Turning the Key Bits

    This week has mostly been about gameflow work (finally!). As per last week there's been darting around into various parts of the code but mostly it's been a bit more focused on adding and polishing the gameplay as the game continues to take shape - fixing some issues is starting to uncover new ones or make remaining ones more blatant. There were a few larger tasks that I gradually broke down into smaller parts around restricting access to areas in the game and looking at the setup for the end of The Prologue. I think I'd been holding back on these a bit because they felt like bigger changes but after making them smaller they became manageable and it wasn't too bad in the end!

    Looking back at code changes for the week it feels like not that much was done (partly from several meetings and discussions taking place); but I think the key thing is that the bits that got worked on were requested ones (and ones that would make the game better). In some ways, perhaps it is better to work on the key bits rather than get too deep into details as it allows the work to be steered to the most valuable bits.

    Speaking of which, my pick this week for bit I was happy with was making NPCs move fast for debug purposes. It was so quick and simple to do I'm kind of kicking myself for not doing it earlier! The thing that made me happy with it is that it makes it so much easier for me to preview where NPCs are going and have them get to the points in their daily cycle that I need to test. Often with coding there's a need to repeatedly test something and figure out what's wrong so the faster it is to return to the same state the better! At some point soon, saves will also be very helpful in this regard, but for now this setup is super helpful. Now back to more work for me to get more valuable bits and pieces done!

    A Lesson In Good Ideas
    (In Which We Dangerously Continue to Inflate Matt's Ego)

    This week, after a few tries, I feel I finally got another piece of region music right. And I'm so glad we didn't stop at the previous attempt! It's easy to fall into the trap of being satisfied with what you already have, for me at least. But if I push just a little further, I rarely ever regret it.

    On a different note: know a good idea when you encounter one, even if it's not actually your own idea. A good idea can come from anywhere. For this track, one such idea (of many), came from Matt. It was he who suggested I add some piano chords to the track. I was first just going to incorporate a subtle piano melody near the end of the track, but decided to bring his idea aboard, and I feel it really paid off. The man tends to be right on the money with his feedback, and this was no exception. It gave the track its own iconic feel, in my honest opinion. Character it would not have had, had he not suggested that. I think it's a great example of how game development is a team effort. If you listen to each other, the game usually ends up being the better for it.

    In other news, the musically based sound effects (mainly user interface related ones) are pretty much done, save any revisions that might come up in the future. That frees me up to look at any remaining areas of the game that could use some more musical support. There's already quite a bit of music in the game, but there's still a bit of time left to push it just a bit further. And as my recent experiences have taught me: when pushing just a bit further I rarely regret it.

    Remote Control

    Making video games is hard.

    In danger of it seeming like this week's guest writer is Major Obvious (he recently got promoted from Captain), it is indeed true that the process of making a video game is a winding and challenging path fraught with great difficulty and run on sentences. One of the great benefits in the rise of indie game development is that more and more people are experiencing the truth of that statement first hand.

    Often, the ways in which people believe game development to be hard are in the obvious sorts of ways: making tough design decisions, balancing, meeting deadlines, community expectations, bugs, and the whole gambit of other similar challenges. But one area that is often overlooked is the more intangible challenges of making games. For example, the entire team works remotely from each other, often in the apparent comfort of our own homes. I'd not dream of suggesting that working from home isn't an incredibly fortunate situation, but there are a few things that begin to manifest with such a setup.

    Case in point, where do you go when you're off from work? Often, nowhere. If I'm sitting at my computer and I stop working for the day...well, typically I don't actually go anywhere. I keep my carcass where it is. The only thing that's changed is what tabs I have open in Chrome. And even then, if I see a work notification come across my phone I'll still check it. Which is to say, the lines between working time and off time become relatively non-existent. You're always at the office, but you're not always at work.

    But fret not, dear reader. This week's write up isn't intended to be dreary, as the above challenges are certainly not as dire as they may seem provided one can manage them effectively (which, for me, usually comes in the form of making time to party as hard as you work). I simply find that sort of stuff personally interesting. For anyone who has ever seen the most excellent Indie Game: The Movie, you'll notice similar themes for most indie developers.

    While on the subject of the intangibles of game development, another interesting theme that's come up this week is team dynamics. It's never really occurred to me until I found myself thinking on it this week, but for many of us on the team we've not gone more than 24 hours without speaking to each other for nearly 2 years now. That's crazy when you think about it. Not to mention, in recent months there's been a similar trend with the community on these forums and the Discord, where we're often talking to the same group of regulars on a near daily basis. As such, the team dynamic has been changing, but in a good way for sure. Your team and community start to become more like family, yet there's still this higher goal of working on a project and maintaining a modicum of professionalism. It's an interesting balancing act, but when achieved can no doubt lead to a better game in the end.

    Oh, but yes. Contrary to what this article might imply, I've actually been working on things this week in between all this aloof pensiveness. There are periods of time when my job often consists of working on seemingly mundane behind the scenes type things that aren't terribly exciting to talk about, hence this week's meandering write-up. That said, we've been doing a very recent blitz on getting certain areas of the game polished in preparation for a new batch of screenshots and even some new video! Beyond that, I've been getting our store platform presence ready. By the time we speak again next week, I'll have some interesting news to share on that front. The number of spinning plates in this project are reducing, but the size of the plates are getting larger. As always, thanks for checking in with us. See all you nutters next week!

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    P R I N T E DᅠA TᅠP I X E L C O U N TᅠC A S T L E,ᅠT H EᅠV A L E

    Copyright 2018 by PixelCount Studios (Limited).ᅠᅠAll rights reserved.ᅠᅠEdited and assembled by Matt Allen.

    Last edited by Matt; February 6th, 2018 at 01:32am.

  2. #2
    Eryndir's Avatar

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    June 29th, 2017
    Great post, as always!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    January 3rd, 2018
    You all really know how to keep the excitement alive. I am inspired to work harder in getting where I want to be with my storyboarding and art. One day. For the moment I live in, near constant, anticipation of all of your hard work!

  4. #4
    BriarRose's Avatar

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    June 28th, 2017
    Sounds like good progress is being made! Working from home is hard (I did it for a few years myself), but you guys are making something really awesome here so I believe in you!
    "I have a cloooooooooooooothing stooooooooooore in my noooooooooooose."- Jurak, Dark Cloud 2

  5. #5
    Terra's Avatar

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    January 2nd, 2018
    Awesome post; it's so intriguing to learn of your process with this...not to mention inspiring...I can't wait for this game...

  6. #6
    Matt's Avatar

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    June 24th, 2016
    Los Angeles, California
    Was a bit of a crazy week so our carrier pigs took longer than usual to deliver this one, but head on over here to check it out!
    Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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