The PixelCount Post - Issue #30
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    Matt's Avatar

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    The PixelCount Post - Issue #30

     






    ISSUE #30                         THE VALE, QUILL                         1 JUNE 2018                         ONE BRASS





    Group Sects
     



     
    Something hit me earlier this week.

    No, it was not a custard pie thrown by an irate baker. Nor a dagger by some shady assassin hired by a rival games company.

    I was walking through Candlewych (in the game, not reality), when a thought whacked me in the face and left me with a bloodied imagination. "This layout is awful!" I said aloud, to nobody in particular. Yep, I always had dark thoughts towards the main village layout, but in the cold light of that day, I woke up and decided to do something about it.

    So, mouse in hand (not a real one), I started to pull apart the region. It turns out that thousands of tiles, objects (those hand placed flowers and grass tufts remember?), collisions, markers, and group sections, take a lot of time and effort to move around.

    Yet my creative energies would not let me rest, and like Dr Frankenstein I pulled the lever on my new monster (which he quite enjoyed). So what was wrong and what did I improve?

    Well, here is my list of wrongdoings...
    • Festival Green was a bad route and hidden away.
    • The Goddess statue in the centre stood out from its surroundings and wasn't bedded in.
    • The Apothecary was hard to find and awkward to get to.
    • Some gardens were way too small.
    • Icabod Moon lived away from the Goods Store.
    • The west side run to Candlewych West was too long and dull.
    • The main roads were too narrow.
    • There were numerous navigation issues


    So how did I fix all this?
    • Blacksmith moved to where Toby Juggs house was.
    • Toby and Mel Jugg's house moved to where Lucy Arrows lived.
    • Lucy Arrows moved to North Gate, where she gained a new purpose.
    • Apothecary moved to where the blacksmith's and John Bows' house were.
    • John Bows moved to Cuckoo Wood, with a new purpose and personality.
    • Icabod's house moved under his shop.
    • Goddess statue moved and aligned with the henge below it to make it look purposeful and consistent.
    • The waterfall area moved closer in to the main path.
    • Road west shortened greatly.
    • Road to festival green runs directly from a new village centre and is lined by bunting and poles (and double width path).
    • Little abandoned hut moved to where Icabod's house was and area roughed up.


    A new prettying pass was done and as much fixed up as possible before Neal goes in and sorts out the sim markers and layering on the moved houses. We hope you enjoy this new layout. And if you don't like it? Well, I have an assassin ready with custard pies...







    Fiddling on the Roof
     



     
    Another quick week goes by! With the build update out on Tuesday, there was some last minute work done both that day and Monday to fix a few more issues and improve an existing feature. This left a shorter week 'til the next update which has mostly been about sketching out some upcoming features and improvements.

    One of the worked on features is the bard for the tavern entertainment - I've setup a script system to play verses of music with accompanying text. This is coming along nicely, although there are some issues to resolve with the audio which might not get resolved by the next update (leading to a slight dilemma of whether it is worth still including or not 'til completely ready - though I am leaning to just including it as it shows the way features get 'sketched' and built up over weeks/months).

    Next up is a first test for roofs on buildings. This is still very early days and probably won't go live in the build yet as it needs some fine tuning in terms of trigger areas where the roof disappears along with changing all the houses to work in this manner! The final one which I've not started yet is cooking, which we've got some new assets for as well as a change in design to make it more of a minigame. In addition to that, there's improvements and presentation work and Charlie's reorg of the village to work on and NPC issues!

    There's definitely a lot going on and I've been finding it important to try and figure out ways to use my time efficiently and get focused where possible. One thing that seems to have helped is when I wake up in the morning I've been writing some notes about what I want to work on. This seems to be a nice way to get my mind directed towards the right things early on in the day! The third day I did this actually led to me thinking up a solution to a longstanding art importing problem, which I'm eager to get in when time allows!

    I've mentioned before about the feeling of jinxes and curses when it comes to predicting work (even within the space of the next day) and that still seems to be the way. In part, I think it's the time lapse between being motivated to do something and then the relative urge at that future point (which might prove it wasn't the best thing to work on or that there is some other activity in need of time or that the time something takes is never predictable). So no real answers here. Still trying to figure this out but I think the one thing I have been finding is the way to give something its best shot is to clear the path of worries and other tasks to provide time to get focused and do your best in the circumstances.



    Avant-Bard
     



     
    I get to do bard music! It's so much fun to make bard songs! Charlie is writing the lyrics, and I write the music to them. Of course, actually making it work as intended in the game is not as easy as it sounds...

    You see, we decided early on that there wouldn't be voice recordings in the main gameplay. All sound produced by NPCs' throats are text based. (So far with the exception of the yawn.) This includes the bard. So that gives us a problem to solve: We have to match text to the timings of the music. Or rather, our resident genius Neal has to match text to the timings of the music, as he has to code it all.

    Meanwhile, I am battling some intense heat in my workspace. The last couple of days, the temperature in here soared to 104 degrees Fahrenheit at times! Today it was luckily a little less than that. (96 degrees Fahrenheit.) So it's time to bring out the trusty laptop again and work from that in a colder environment. My laptop doesn't quite have the same power as my main PC does though, but since I'm working on bard songs, which only need 1 or 2 instruments, that's ok.

    I have yet to get the music right for the juggler we intend to include. I've made a few drafts for it, but none of them were quite right yet. The mummer track is pretty much done. Soon there'll be plenty to see in the tavern, which has been rather empty so far. That just won't do! Let there be music and dancing! I hope I get to make loads of tavern music, as I'm having a grand time with it!



    Stream of Consciousness
     



     
    Peace and order has returned to my building this week. (As you may have read in last week's issue, alarms were going off for days in building.)

    This meant I was able to not only get caught up on sleep (a rarity for me), but it also meant I had a relatively normal work week for once! The week began with getting together with Charlie and Neal to test our streaming setups. The tricky part about all this is that I want to be able to switch between each team member's desktops mid-stream. Most streams only show one user's screen, but in ours we're needing to account for up to three - and maybe more depending!

    There's a few ways this can be done, one of which includes each team member sending their desktop stream to a server that we've set up. That server then sends the feeds to my end and I could then switch between each desktop as I like...which would then get sent onward to the actual stream that the viewers can see.

    The problem I ran into with this was that it'd introduce considerable delay between everyone's stream and it'd make conversation between us difficult due to reacting to things out of sync. (And the delay would end up being even worse for the viewers!)

    So I decided that the best thing to do would be to find another service's screensharing that was reliable enough that I could then 'capture' using my broadcast software and output to the stream that the audience sees. As it turns out, Discord fit the bill rather nicely! There's still a bit more testing that I want to do (mainly with audio setup) but the initial groundwork is laid. This'll at least get us by for the first stream and I'll no doubt perfect our setup further as we go along.

    In addition to testing stream setups, I also put together an FAQ to help answer a number of common questions that we get. I also plastered links to the FAQ around the site to help point people in its direction. I also did some minor updates to our Piggy Backer page to better clarify various rewards and how/when they'll be sent out.

    Lastly, I put together one of our formal Development Updates. In fact, it got posted mere hours ago! Not everyone reads each lovely edition of The PixelCount Post, so it's still important that we do these larger flashier updates every once in a while.

    Next week we'll be doing our first stream for Dev Pub members who backed at the Land Shaper tiers and higher. In addition to this, I'm going to be finally catching up with Matthijs on a good deal of audio work that I've been getting seriously behind on! I'll also be running support where I can to assist Charlie and Neal with testing and brainstorming the new content that we're getting around to adding in the near future (some of which is briefly talked about in the Development Update from earlier today).

    It's definitely nice to be getting into a good rhythm with the build updates and with overall productivity. Next week is looking to be a pretty interesting one for sure. And then, the week after that...I'll be at E3...

    *gasp*



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  2. #2

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    Lovely Update!!~

  3. #3
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    That man's beard is pretty fancy.
    When I'm good, I'm very good. When I'm bad, I'm better.

  4. #4
    Matt's Avatar

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    The Pre-E3 madness has begun in the latest issue of The PixelCount Post!
    Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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