The PixelCount Post - Issue #38
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  1. #1
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    The PixelCount Post - Issue #38

     






    ISSUE #38                         THE VALE, QUILL                         24 SEPTEMBER 2018                         ONE BRASS





    Note To Self
     



     
    These past two weeks have seen the subdued rollout of Backer Build 10. It took a bit longer than expected to reach that point. Being honest about it, on my side I feel like I have twiddled thumbs on it and given myself excuses around not getting it done quicker. I don't say this to unduly get glum about the situation but to keep it in my mind.

    Often with these posts I'm talking about my motivation, focus, and current aims - the reason for that is to try and note down lessons to help me for the future. Sometimes this works for a while too, but other times it doesn't help that much because I get trapped in cycles where it feels difficult to get past a specific obstacle (mostly that excitement fades with routine and life and worries which can't be ignored).

    This last few days I've found another source of inspiration and focus which feels like a return of old strong feelings. Mostly that is a mix of passion and excitement that I am purposefully stirring for the push towards Early Access. And more broadly I am trying to feel more disciplined in my approach, be more aware of my self-imposed limitations, and take steps to embed habits that allow me to avoid the downward cycles.

    I've read a fair few books and watched videos on the subject of improvement. Often it's easy to dismiss them individually because their situation doesn't match mine and the range of starting points for trying to change are very broad, so suggestions could be too easy/hard or just incompatible. The thing that was the tipping point in this case I think was reading about the four areas of well-being that we can look to improve (sleeping, eating, movement, mindfulness) and looking at small steps I could take from that to start to regain a sense of awareness of my situation and why I am in it. Additionally, to look at what narratives I have told myself that maybe contributed to it and see how they could be looked at in other more positive/hopeful ways.

    I've also taken to writing personal notes to myself when I do feel the onset of bad habits and I think this helps with the awareness and realisation of how to deal with them before they take over. It's not been easy so far but I think I'm okay with that - I like a challenge and in order to reach my goals I need to call on my determination.



    Pretty Little Lyre's
     



     
    Finally got some momentum, and a ton of new prettying assets in the build, so the past week or so has been full on prettying the Summerdown region.

    This is the time when I summon up the spirit of Bob Ross and start obsessively placing tufts of grass and flowers everywhere. The new brush really helps cover the blanker spaces with bits of detail to break up the space, but I still prefer the single asset at a time detailing.

    With Summerdown, we want it to look different enough from the Vale, so there are new tree types, grasses, and flowers. Plus, the main ground is less busy and has a bit more in common with its neighbouring hub, Rivermoor. It's been nice to start developing the little nooks and crannies too as well as getting the house furniture in as it really starts to make the levels look more complete.

    When designing a level, a lot of it is just made on instinct and feel. I know how many exits are needed and where they go. The rest is just playing with shapes and routes. Then the prettying is a case of making it seem a plausible place, and varied, while maintaining good navigation - so hints of paths when wandering to the sides, lighting, plus environmental places of interest to reward and intrigue the explorer.

    Soon it will be bugs, collisions, and markers, followed by filling the levels with collectibles. And then, you all get to play them...and that's the best part for me.



    A Broad Sword Chord
     



     
    There are a few tracks from the Vale that, in a new form, will be returning when you reach Poppyhill. Like Candlewych, Poppyhill will feature its own shops. And when you enter these I'd like to show you familiar shop tunes, but brought to you with the flavour of the town the shop is in. So just from the sound of the music you'll know what type of shop you entered.

    Yet it won't be the exact same track over and over for each town. Once I have initial versions of each new shop music for Poppyhill, I'll have all the music files ready to be imported into the internal build of the game. After that I can still alter them, as I'll just need to replace the current version of a track with a newer one of the same name. This means I can keep on perfecting them even after the content lock will be in place.

    Meanwhile, I'm still trying to create the perfect sound effects for combat. It's quite tricky to get this just right. The sound of swinging your weapon and hitting your opponent can be done in a bajillion different ways but they have to match the 'tone' of the game perfectly but also feel satisfying. I've gone through quite a few versions by now. Many don't even make it past the experimentation stage. Too real, too fake, too comical, too scary, too shrill, too bass-y. I'll be quite relieved once I finally get it just right.

    I suspect a few more sound effects will be added to my to-do list as we play through the new areas and find new things that need to have a sound. You don't always think of everything right away. This makes development very fluid and hard to predict. But I'm confident you're going to love the new additions we'll put in the Early Access build! Seeing all the art assets come in has been wonderfully motivating as well. Some amazing work is being done! I can't wait to see your reactions to it.



    Mind the Daily Grind
     



     
    In recent weeks my work has begun to span some wide and diverse categories. One day I'll be storyboarding a trailer, the next I'll be making production schedules. Then after that I'll do a logo treatment in Photoshop, followed by scheduling screenshot tweets in TweetDeck. A day later I'll be knee-deep in site analytics, and then afterwards I'll write an article for The PixelCount Post - literally this one, which you're reading right this very moment. All whilst having the good folks in our community Discord to keep me company with their conversation, their good spirits, and their questionable taste in GIF's.

    In addition to these tasks, I've also been recently absorbed in conversation with my teammates about staying motivated during these long stretches of development. It's sometimes surprising how anything can become routine if you do it long enough and we were noticing in ourselves that we had fallen into a sort of daily grind mentality where we were just going through the motions of getting our work done. We'd hole ourselves away in our respective work bubbles and just tend to our tasks.

    It's somewhat natural to get into that sort of rhythm without meaning to, especially when it's one of those periods of development when the work is important but otherwise unexciting. Thankfully, after a few weeks of this, we started to notice it happening and we began talking with each other to snap ourselves out of it.

    It just goes to show the importance of the team dynamic when working on projects like these. Excitement and passion are contagious and it's important we keep each other engaged and excited about our work - even when the work isn't particularly glamorous. At the end of the day, we're still working on a wild and crazy idea that we believe in and if we're passionate about it then that passion will get smuggled into the game and will surely be all the better for it.



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  2. #2


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    i can just repeat what i said in discord:

    Keep up the good work and thank your for taking your time to write all these PixelCount Post Episodes! <3

  3. #3


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    Fantastic to hear how much effort you guys are putting into this, well done!

  4. #4


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    Keep up the good work guys!

  5. #5
    Matt's Avatar

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    The periodically periodical returns yet again! Hop on over here to read Issue #39.
    Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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