The PixelCount Post - Issue #26
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  1. #1
    Matt's Avatar

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    The PixelCount Post - Issue #26

     






    ISSUE #26                         THE VALE, QUILL                         20 APR 2018                         ONE BRASS





    A Note from the Editor
     



     
    Hello there loyal readers. The PixelCount Post has been taking a very brief intermission of publication due to all staff writers being otherwise preoccupied with some recent and exciting announcements. We hope that said announcements will act as some form of recompense for the sudden absence of this fine periodical in your life. Below, you can find our patented Text of Teleportation™ which will take you directly to these latest news pieces. May you find it a fine substitute for The Post's recent absence.












    Such Great Heights
     



     
    Aaaah, the relief of being able to get back into levels!

    After a couple of weeks of inaction on the editor front (due to Neal needing the levels for essential work), I got back into the game. A couple of regions were still lacking a bit of a differentiator, but after fiddling with some assets I created a rather cool and creepy theme! The rest of my time was spent doing a collision pass so that you can't escape outside the borders (hopefully!).

    Now I have to implement Neal's layering stuff and go over all regions and fix up any issues (so the player runs in front of or behind things correctly). I have also got to do a flower pass on a lot of regions which, while relaxing, is slow and a lot of work. Any volunteers? *wink*

    Today, I want to get the books sorted - had some ideas for helpful ones, so we can not just be peppered with bad rhymes and actually make them useful. I will not be playing Radical Heights today at all, I promise.



    We need YOU to help us spread the word about the Closed Beta. To lend a helping hand, all you have to do is go to the Twittersphere and cast a Retweet spell. To visit the tweet in question, merely direct your pointing device to the teleportation link below.


    Not a member of the Twittersphere? Worry not, as any help spreading the word is appreciated whether it's on The Book of Faces or even one of your (other) favourite forums.



    UI for You and I
     



     
    This past week, layering work has largely been completed! It wasn't easy (somewhat predictably), but by moving over the building walls to the new system I was able to test out a bunch of different cases and figure out the issues as they arose. Most of these were on aspects of the collision which I hadn't realised since I was mostly focused on the graphical side!

    Fortunately, the issues could be overcome without too much change and we are now in a much better position to support the complex levels that we have and any new cases we might make. The process also started off some thoughts regarding saved objects in the game and a better way of handling them.

    In part to take a break from system work, I've now been looking into the UI for both the main screens and for the blacksmith minigame. This has started to come together after a few days and looks like it will simplify the existing code which is always good news! Anyway, I better keep it brief today as I know there's more, always more, to be done.



    Watch Your Language
     



     
    So as y'all no doubt have noticed by now, we finally revealed our plans for a closed beta by the end of this month! This came with an awesome teaser trailer that Matt put together. This teaser references an old movie that not only shares a date with our closed beta release date but also is a great source of inspiration for the game itself.

    As part of his process, Matt had picked a track from the Kynseed soundtrack that he felt had the right vibe for what he was going for and used it as a temp-track for me to work from. As usual, I felt he had nailed the vibe. However, the melodic theme in the fragment he had used wasn't right for a trailer this significant. So I used the basis of the temp-track and replaced the melody with one that has much more significance in the overall soundtrack of the game.

    Those of you who have played the prototype may recognise the notes, although the theme was used there in a rather obscure form. What I'm trying to do is to use music as a language in a rather direct way. The way a theme is used has literal meaning - and so do instruments themselves. And this language must be used consistently across all things Kynseed, including trailers, for it to work. While I reckon the effect will mostly be subconscious, I want this musical language to hold up to scrutiny if anyone were to analyze it closely.

    Then again, game development is a very fluid process. And many things change in unpredictable ways. This means I have to constantly adapt the musical 'language' I'm trying to establish to compensate for unexpected changes. I couldn't have predicted which temp-track Matt would use for the trailer, nor the way we iterated on the music for this trailer. So the language is still very much in flux. This makes it very challenging. I hope that when all the game is finished, this language will still make sense, and that it can be deciphered.







    Marching to the Beta
    of a Different Drummer

     



     
    At Chateau Matt, the lovely manor which resides across a small pond opposite of Castle PixelCount, things have been most busy. I've been burning my midnight oil to the point that I've had to request a special shipment for copious amounts of replacement oil. It's been a month of much writing for me and, curiously, I now find myself writing about writing here in this very article.

    Some of what was written has been thoroughly advertised up above. However, there's still more yet to write. I've at least two more announcements to pen for the month of April. One of those announcements won't come to anyone's surprise, as the launch of the closed beta on April 29th will no doubt require an official proclamation of some sort. The other announcement is one that will get posted this upcoming weekend. That announcement is one that I hold near and dear to myself, as it's become a sort of pet project of mine in recent months. I shan't spoil any of it here, but I do genuinely hope that you all enjoy what's revealed once the time comes.

    In other news, the entire team has been slowly coming to terms with the reality that a large swath of backers will soon be able to play the current build. On the one hand, we're excited. On the other hand, we want to make sure players know what they're getting into. It is often said that games look a bit crap for the entire duration of development, but that it's only until the last month before launch that it begins to look presentable. I'm sure our game will be no different. There's so much work left to be done and only a fraction of the current build is properly playable. Seriously. Huge portions of the build are wildly incomplete.

    Thus, it's our hope that players understand how thoroughly unfinished things are. Everything is rough right now, ranging from the save system to farming to NPC interactions. But in many ways, that's the whole point. One of our goals with Kynseed was to demystify the game development process. As such, we want players to see the game during a stage of development that most gamers never get to see, let alone play. I've often noticed how the games industry has a habit of betas being remarkably polished and cohesive - in such betas, bugs are minimal and game content is fairly (if not entirely) complete to some degree.

    Our closed beta, however, seeks to help lift the veil of what the real development process is like. Kynseed is currently at a state which most developers would be uncomfortable showing to players - let alone letting them stream it! But we're not looking to do things the 'normal' way. We need feedback from players and the earlier we get it the better. We're honestly a bit surprised we even lasted as long as we have without letting other people play it, given that we don't really like working on a game in secret more than is absolutely necessary.

    So it's a time of excitement and anxiousness as we prepare for this huge step. It's our hope that players understand the spirit in which we're doing this beta and, ultimately, that they understand how much further there is to go.

    I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a slightly risky move. If even a small portion of players go into the closed beta with the expectation that the game is like other closed betas, well...we're going to have some disgruntled players on our hands. The fact is, we're not letting people play Kynseed because it's ready. We're letting them play because we need their input. At the end of the day, this is us opening the doors to let people see what a real internal developer build looks like. There won't really be a 'closed beta version' and a 'developer version'. There's just going to be the one version we're all playing together. (Granted, we might occasionally do a day or two of internal dev testing before pushing out an update, but that'll probably be the extent of it most of the time.)

    So if you find yourself playing the closed beta and a strange bug occurs that destroys the last 3 hours of your progress without ever saving...then welcome to the world of developer builds. Hopefully the bugs won't be all that bad, of course, but such is the way of things for developers working on a game. We welcome you to share in our excitement, our frustrations, our problem solving, and our brainstorming. It's going to be a hell of a rollercoaster ride, but rollercoasters aren't nearly as much fun without a group of friends to ride with you. We look forward to screaming in terror with all of you very soon.



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  2. #2
    Secretcode's Avatar

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    Reminds me of Kenshi the game has been in development for a few years on steam EA but playing all the different builds was actually one of the most fun parts, even when you get hilarious bugs, starting over again was never a bad thing since it always felt different each time you started up again. I really like that it's closed beta and I hope people that stream put emphasis on it being a early beta build on their titles. :-3 28th/29th gonnnaa be soooo good 'james franco face'

  3. #3
    Amanea's Avatar
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    Looking forward to the beta,I'm counting the days. I generally stay away from early access games,because I don't want to get burnt out on a game before it's even complete. But with a game like Kynseed I don't really have that problem. I mean I still go back and play certain Harvest Moons/Story of Seasons games or Stardew Valley,even though I've played through them countless times at this point. Restarting is something I do in those games a lot myself anyway. But now new stuff gets added every time I do,which is exciting!

  4. #4
    Matt's Avatar

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    It's been a very busy few weeks, so we ended up having one of the longest issues of The PixelCount Post to date! Teleport yourself over yonder to give it a read.
    Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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