Saturday, August 18, 2018

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #47

Hey all, back with the 47th development log for the studio. For this update, we're going to talk about progress on our games and infrastructure for the studio. A lot of this might be a bit boring if you're not interested in what goes on under the hood, but I guess the point of a development log isn't really to entertain but instead talk about what's going on. Anyhow...

Selatria


Progress on the Selatria project is going well. The most difficult aspect of the project is still managing the large amount of voices, what needs to be done, and what needs to be re-cast and re-recorded. Shadoe, the sound engineer of the project, has taken to going through the last main character's voices and sending me a list of what needs to be retaken there. While I go through the long backlog of voices for side characters and recurring characters and approve/send emails out as needed. Here are some new screenshots from Chapter 4.











The new cutscene developer Donald Alfieri has come up with the basis for a lot of these new cutscenes for the second half.

Changes to Shopkeeper:


Currently Shopkeeper can die based off the player's actions or if they're careless or don't choose to buy goods from them based off the previous actions.

I was ignorant to some very negative tropes that this contributes to and I'm making some changes and what I feel are needed retcons to the character. We've begun work already on some of the points you see below, and all of these are going to be implemented by the time Selatria is ready for release. For future games, I want to do better on this and do better research on people of different backgrounds/orientations/communities so something like this doesn't happen again. I personally feel embarrassed that I didn't know about these aspects of the community and I want to make sure it gets changed.


Negatives removed/planned:


• Removed "Shopkeeper's Dying Will" item that would appear in wherever you let him die.

• Removed permadeath aspect. You will be able to see Shopkeeper in every scene he's supposed to be involved in.

• For places where his bones used to be if you let him die, it will just be nothing there assuming he somehow escaped or got free.


Positives planned:

• A "rewards" like system for if you buy the goods and stop him from getting angry, you get permanent discounts on his wares starting at 5% per positive interaction to a 25% discount cap

We have more additional further changes in mind to the Shopkeeper character, and we'll announce them as they become available.


Dastardly Dairy Debacle

We're still making some progress on The Dastardly Dairy Debacle, but there's some last minute hiccups before we can bring it to Google Play. More information on this game will be in next month's development log.

Improving the infrastructure/implementing proper source control

Up until now, we've been using Dropbox and Google Drive for our version control for game development. (I know, really bad/amateurish on our end.) While we've attempted to use more professional version control like GitHub, we've noticed it was rejecting some of the assets for our project that wasn't code-related, so that wouldn't work for us.



After messing with Perforce and trying to get in contact with them for the Indie Studio pack and having to jump through hoops and emails to get a price point, we've settled on Plastic SCM/Gluon for the version/source control tool for the studio. I wanted to make sure we got a tool that everyone can use without it being a hassle, and I'm really happy we settled on the choice. I thought I was going to have to fight to get this all set up but it was extremely easy and straightforward. Why didn't we use this sooner?

We ended up going for the Cloud Server option for us.

E3 and future conventions


E3 was handled a lot better this year than it has in previous years. While the industry only hours, there was time to actually get some dedicated playtime in but it wasn't enough of a time block to be able to see everything. (Each popular game was a multi-hour wait, even including industry credentials.) I hope next year they take more of a stance similar to Tokyo Game Show and have an industry-only day and then two full days for the public. That would be the best compromise to making the exhibition a better event.





For future conventions and events, some of us will be at the Las Vegas game jam next weekend and Gameacon Las Vegas at the end of the year. Next, Salt Lake Gaming Con? LVLUPEXPO 2019? More to come in the next development log.

Until next time!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Producing and Directing comments

Me: You know, I don't really do a lot of hands-on game development. ...Or at least as much as I'd like to.

Jon: That's because you're both a PRODUCER and DIRECTOR.

Me: ...Good point.

They're not just titles, I'm want to make sure the game is heading in a good direction as well as making sure we get everything settled with the publisher and patches. I think next project I'll take more of a creative role and leave the production side to the end. Well, at least, make the game, let it sit for a while during which I'll market it and build hype, then announce a release date and send it out to the world. Doing it all simultaneously is taxing.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #46 [E3 2018 Edition]


Hey all - back with a new development log. Pre-E3 edition. For this June update, I wanted to make sure we had our own big announcements to show to go with E3.

Selatria




After seven years of development on the game, we are finally going to be completing our work on Selatria. We are currently aiming for a release date in late-2019 for the full Selatria game. As promised before, any progress from Selatria: Advent of the Dakk'rian Empire will be compatible with the full final release. Here is some promotional art and some new screenshots!













To accompany this announcement, we have a few new people on the main team to introduce or switched their roles. Donald Alfieri has been brought onto the team in the past year to join me on mapping and designing the cutscene movements and porting in the script for Part 2. We still have two more sections of script to port in for the main scenario before we can consider that leg finished and move 100% of our effort to cutscene designs. Dominique Hodnett is a brand-new addition to our team, and we have been working together on Wednesday nights and Saturdays to complete the content of Mage's journal and some side stories involving the main characters you will get to experience in Part 2. Leigh-anna Griswould has been behind the implementation of the voices into the cutscenes, and last but not least, Timothy Blanchet has been behind the scripting of some of the new features that you will see explained below.

Some new features:


-The journal will now open automatically to the newest page. As mentioned in the last post, we now will have an indicator that briefly popups when the journal is updated. When selecting the journal from the main menu or the items section, it will now highlight Mage's current thoughts dependent on your progress. I feel this will be good for players who take a long break between play sessions or are waiting for the new release and forgot where they needed to go.


-Quick Save will also be coming in with the 2019 update. Quick save will allow for shorter play sessions by being able to save and close the game at any time. However, when a quick save is loaded, that data is deleted from memory. This was a requested feature from different forums given that most games these days have save anywhere functionality. But due to the nature of the game, we don't want to have our players stuck in a situation they can't get out of. So we set up a compromise and implemented Quick Save.

Also to note, you will start to see more video footage from upcoming scenes that our team has worked on implementing, and I will be cross posting this to our new forums and on our Steam discussion board.

Regarding the new release date: Previously I have been concerned about giving away release date windows due to naively announcing an August 2012 release date for the full game back when we started.  Since then, we have better project management protocols in place and up-to-date metrics on where we are and what we need to do to be able to get there. I feel we've gotten to the point that if we can't finish it in the next year, it will simply never get done. I'm really hoping you'll continue to support this project as you have been as we go into our final year of development. For those of you who have supported us on Indiegogo, we will be making further announcements for physical rewards and fulfillment before the end of this year.


The Dastardly Dairy Debacle


After a few months of fixing issues and pushing back on release for The Dastardly Dairy Debacle, we're currently doing final checks on content implementation and we are aiming for a new release of this summer. For now, we've uploaded a new theme from the game, so please take a listen. Please also take a look at some new screenshots as well as a new song composed by Christopher Nuño!








We also have a new Whim Indie interview available regarding music creation and a new interview by Jabari for the J-Tendo show (if you haven't seen it yet).





Before we end for this month's update, I'd like to show some highlights from our time at LVLUPEXPO this year. We had a great turnout and we hope to demonstrate our games at the convention next year as well.








That's it for this update. See you next month or at the E3 show floor!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #45

Hey everyone! Thanks for reading the 45th development log, for the month of April.

Selatria

Since the last development log, we have hit a milestone, 80% complete of development!

80 percent complete with development! Woo!

A lot of this is attributed to the art development which we will finally be wrapping up in the next few weeks. The next big hurdles are getting the rest of the dialogue ported into the game for the final chapter and the voices of Mage, Melanie, Saewo, and Gobby for the last few chapters. As for the design being 0%, that's a category we haven't really used until recently with planning out the equipment for the characters for the last two chapters. Until recently, we've just lumped it in with the programming.

Due to a lot of work involving porting in the script, there's not a lot particularly interesting to show for the development, but we did address some quality of life improvements. First of which (below)

A window now appears when the Journal is updated. This is still subject to change.

Every time the journal gets updated, a notification will appear like the above. (The way this looks isn't necessarily final). I am wondering if this will confuse players thinking the game auto saved in the journal as opposed to letting them know where to go in the menu got updated. If you have a better idea on how to phrase the difference, feel free to send me a message or leave a comment on the forums.

If you're confused on where to go, the journal now auto-navigates to the newest written page

Another quality of life improvement for the journal is that the cursor will automatically now go to the newest page that has been updated. This will hopefully make navigating and figuring out where to go when the game has been put down for an extended amount of time much easier. Both of these updates will be implemented alongside the release of the full game/Part 2.

The Dastardly Dairy Debacle 


So we've been having a few technical difficulties with the development of Dastardly Dairy Debacle, and we want to hold off releasing it until we fix a few more critical bugs and fix some of the game balance issues. More to come on that in a future update!

Website Improvements!


We've made some improvements to our website and some of our web development interns implemented an initial build of our forums.  Instead of reporting bugs via email, we hope to have this available so other people can visit and comment with their finds. Feel free to give us feedback, report anything, or even say hi over there.

LVLUPEXPO


This year's LVLUPEXPO will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on May  4-6, 2018. We will be demonstrating Selatria, ANTics, and possibly The Dastardly Dairy Debacle there. If you're in or plan on visiting Las Vegas, please visit us! You may win one of these!


You can purchase tickets to LVLUPEXPO here.
 

Whim Indie - Behind the Scenes: Episode #5


And finally, we'll end with a new behind-the-scenes video with Jabari interviewing Shadoe about sound engineering for Selatria. It's a continuation of one of the past episodes on the topic so check it out.

 

That's all for this one. Until next time. Hope to see you at LVLUPEXPO the forums, or in the next development log!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Midnight Updates

I don't write here as much as I should.

You know, when I'm at work, all I can really think about is coming home to work more on my game projects. Then I get home and I'm too tired to do anything about it.
Fast forward a few hours (and some FFXIV) and the inspiration wave kicked in again full force, and I decided to ride said wave until now, 12:30A - No regret.

Rinse and repeat in 6 hours (I'll be awake, I swear!)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #44

Hey everyone! Thanks for reading the 44th development log, to round out the start of March.

To start off, we've been very busy in the studio the past few weeks. Since January, we've gotten three additional interns: two who are doing web development work, and one who is doing additional work on filling in the missing sidequests for our projects. 

So we'll hop right into it!


Selatria

First we'll start off with some new screenshots from Part 2

The new title screen for Chapter 4 and on


You'll be able to make any party member the lead after Chapter 4.

Spells now have icons in battle!

You'll notice that the test "2" from the test title screen in last month's development log has been replaced with the final Part 2 screen. This places emphasis on the antagonists and the new characters "Waltear", "Saewo", and "Harmony" who will have prominent parts in the story. When the game detects any saved data from Chapter 4 or beyond in the directory, the title screen will change.

We're also working on various features of the game. We planned out exactly how many hidden cats will be in the game, and we're working on putting in the challenges to get them. Some of the cats in Chapter 4 and beyond will be especially difficult to get, so best of luck! We're also going to be addressing the issue where a lot of the cats had the same sound effects.

We're currently about to port in the dialogue for the final chapter of Selatria and from there we will resume production of the cutscenes. We'll also be merging The Dastardly Dairy Debacle team into the Selatria team for added resources and development. Please look forward to more updates!

Credit to Deborah Groves, Jenny Gilliland for the art development, Timothy Blanchet, Donald Alfieri, Leigh-anna Griswould, and Jonathan Dishaw for the programming development above.

The Dastardly Dairy Debacle 

We're putting some finishing touches on our upcoming mobile game! This is a small role-playing game with touch inputs, it started off as a project some students pitched to our studio to which we took over development and saw the game to completion. Below are some sample screenshots. Do note, these were taken from the PC and not an android phone, so the resolutions and pictures are not how they'll exactly appear in-game.






We're going to be putting the game in closed testing on Saturday March 3, and launch on Google Play later this month. You can follow our Facebook account The Dastardly Dairy Debacle. Credit to Matt Hawkins, Jessica Jacuinde, and Chris Nuño for taking over the programming, the art development, and the sound production respectively.

Whim Indie - Behind the Scenes: Episode #4

Finally, here's a new behind-the-scenes inside scoop on the studio. In this episode, Jabari interviews Chris Nuño who talks about some of the difficulties of compositions in Selatria.




That's it for now, until April!