The PixelCount Post - Issue #21
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  1. #1
    Matt's Avatar

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    The PixelCount Post - Issue #21

     






    ISSUE #21                         THE VALE, QUILL                         23 FEB 2018                         ONE BRASS






    Best Laid Game Plans
     



     
    There's a certain sort of irony that games are a common source of procrastination, yet for the game developer they're a common source of hard work. Which is to say, we've been incredibly busy as of late. In fact, this was perhaps one of the busiest weeks we've ever had and so aside from being late (shame on us), many of the articles in this issue of The PixelCount Post will be short and sweet, like a cuddly gnome. (Though we do get an appearance by Frederick Fur down below.)

    Of obvious highlight is the fact that Kynseed is now on the Steam store! Not only is this an incredibly exciting milestone, but it's all a bit uncanny really. I've known that this was bound to happen eventually, but actually seeing the game on that platform is really strange. I've been using Steam for so many years and, regardless of its imperfections, it's fair to say that it's a platform that holds a special place in many gamer's hearts. To be able to see Kynseed as a recently played game on my Steam profile is even more uncanny.

    Of course, things of this nature are never without their challenges. As heralded in last week's issue, Wednesday was the intended day for the Steam store to go live. On that day, I woke unreasonably early (for me) and began preparations for this incredibly important step. I kept everyone updated on Twitter as I progressed, I made a few last minute adjustments to the trailer, and I prepared some threads for the Steam forums. Soon, it became time to hit the button. The team decided that the honours were mine, so with anticipation I went to the back end of the Steamworks platform and got pumped up at the prospect of doing something I'd always wanted to do: get a game page up on Steam.

    I hit the first button, Steam gave me one final 'are you sure' warning, I ignored this warning with glee, and hit the final button. There might as well have been some science fiction-esque button cover to flip open, as that's how it felt at the time. The page showed a loading icon. It was happening!

    I watched the loading icon intently. In fact, I was even capturing my screen at the time, as I wanted a keepsake video file of this moment. I continued to wait. Then, I waited some more.

    5 minutes went by...

    Is this normal? Did we do something wrong? Did I break something? Do I smell smoke!? No, no smoke. But it did seem to be taking forever. I waited some more. 10 minutes now. Should I interrupt it and try again? What if interrupting it breaks something and Kynseed gets scattered into Steam limbo? And then...

    ...an error message. "Request failed with an unknown error." The error box was red and angry looking. Well...damn. I alerted the team of what happened, logged out of Steamworks, cleared my browser's cache, logged back in, and tried again. Another 10 minute wait. Another error message. So I hurried over to the Steamworks developer forums and saw that other devs were reporting the same issue. Another 10 minutes later, a Steam rep posted saying that their CDN was down. That stands for 'Content Delivery Network' and is, to put it plainly, responsible for posting nearly all content onto Steam. Screenshots, videos, store pages, everything.

    "This is such a game dev thing to happen," we told each other. It's true. Things like this seem to happen all the time during game dev. Here we'd told everyone when to expect the Steam store, and through no fault of our own we missed the deadline. Such is life. Thankfully, we're awesome developers who immediately notified the community who is equally awesome and took it all in stride. We genuinely appreciate you all being chill about it. A little known fact about the games industry is that usually if the fans are disappointed by something, the team is even more disappointed internally.

    However, all's well that ends well. The store page went live the following morn' and there was much rejoicing. I encourage everyone to head there and hit that Wishlist button, as that really helps us out. Also, be sure to read the bigger development update that we made recently which goes into more detail on how you can support us. A big thanks to all of you for helping us get to this stage of the game. Next stop: Early Access release!



    All Work And No Gameplay
     



     
    This last week was a busy one with the arrival of the Steam store (with a few hiccups along the way). Like milestones before of the game appearing on itchio/Game Jolt/Kickstarter and as well as appearing in various gaming websites (the latest being PC Gamer!), it's still new and exciting to have the game now visible there!

    With the rapidly approaching intended release time frame for Early Access, there's plenty of code work to be done. In fact, I do feel like code is the bottleneck now as it plays catchup with the great work already done on art/levels/music. What perhaps makes the code more a bottleneck is that it is both needed for the back end as well as the front end side of things, like scripting, which generally is always the last thing to finish on a game.

    So at the moment, I'm trying to find a careful balance of improving features while looking to address any major tasks remaining. This week, NPC's are a big focus as we look to improve their setup and gameplay options. All going well, this should lift up the experience a fair bit (but there will undoubtedly be more work to do on it as we head through Early Access). Artist Matt has also provided some neat sprite FX to incorporate too, and then there's animation and layering work and tools work and...ahem, excuse me, I better get back to it!



    Excerpts from
    The Bullford English to English Dictionary

     



     
    In an effort to help educate the masses, The PixelCount Post is running another set of featured excerpts from our very old copy of The Bullford English to English Dictionary, written by famed language expert Frederick Fur. All words presented here have made appearances in prior issues of The PixelCount Post. Please enjoy.
    loo (lu), n. A toilet.

    English to English translation: toilet

    Frederick's Footnotes: Perhaps one of the most important words in the British vernacular. There are many lovely theories behind the origins of this word, but most scholars such as myself hold the belief it comes from the 20th century trade name 'Waterloo', which was often displayed on the iron cisterns in many British outhouses of the day.



    ensorcell (ɛnˈsɔrsəl) n. Enchant; fascinate.

    English to English translation: bewitch

    Frederick's Footnotes: A lovely term form the Mid 16th century which derives from an Old French word, 'ensorceler'.



    shrubbery (ʃrʌbəri) n. Shrubs collectively.

    English to English translation: bushes

    Frederick's Footnotes: Bring me one.




    There Is No 'Done'
     



     
    As time goes on, the crazy gets crazier as the deadlines loom closer...

    From Steam breaking down at the worst possible time, to rescheduling meetings to well after midnight, the times are very exciting! Much still needs doing and the work continues. I'm now in the process of going by every single track all over again to get them all ready for final mixing. Over the last year, I've listened to the soundtrack hundreds of times and, as I worked on whatever deadline I had at the time, the list of adjustments I wanted to make to all the tracks grew and grew. Now is the time to finally make these final changes. A different articulation here, a super slight increase in volume there, a subtle change in a melody, an extra note...

    And then there's equalizing, compression, delays, etc. And the trickiest thing, to me, is that there's no clear point where it's obvious that the track is 'done'. Heck, I'd go so far as to say that in music, there is no 'done'. There's only the moment either you, or the team, decide to stop working on it any further. If that happens and you still end up noticing some miniscule problem you overlooked before, that thing will stick out like a sore thumb until the day I die - so I better get it right!







    Emergent Sea
     



     
    "Come on baby light my fire", sang The Doors. A very apt song this week considering it sums up some work being put in the game.

    We replaced all the existing doors with new ones that you can actually be blocked by, and open, with proper fades and everything. We also had a list of what we want our AI to do in their routines, and lighting fires in the evening was one of those. Very cosy!

    And babies! We have two babies in the game, so they need their own routines plus caring for by their respective families. While looking for GIF's for ScreenshotSaturday on Twitter, I poured out some water in the Kettle's house and Copper Kettle the baby ran up to me and whistled, just as his mum turned around and seemingly glared at the puddle. It wasn't meant to happen but it looked fantastic. The GIF still exists but the lack of idles for the baby and mum made it perhaps a bit too rough for posting.

    I also had an amusing reaction as I held a piece of pork, whereby all three members of the Kettle family commented on it, including the baby. Also, someone needs to call child services as Copper Kettle was working at the oven. We look forward to finding more extremely dodgy goings on as we add more reactions and routines!



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  2. #2
    BriarRose's Avatar

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    Congrats on getting up on Steam! (We will never forgive you for being a day late for things outside your control )


    Also "ensorcell" is the best word ever and I want excuses to use it.
    "I have a cloooooooooooooothing stooooooooooore in my noooooooooooose."- Jurak, Dark Cloud 2

  3. #3

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    Congratulations for getting on steam! I ll go check it immediatly!

  4. #4
    Matt's Avatar

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    More update goodness can be found in the latest issue here!
    Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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