Dev Update: Arcanoria Revelations

I’ve been working hard on our latest incarnation of Arcanoria related projects, entitled Arcanoria Revelations – The Portal Weavers. Arcanoria Revelations places the Arcanoria fantasy mythos into an online ARPG (Action Role Playing Game) format, similar in some ways to existing commercial titles Diablo 3, and Path of Exile.

I know it seems like we’re skipping around a lot, but in truth we are re-using quite a lot of assets, infrastructure, manager classes, and general tech and packages, from several older Arcanoria related project titles. Revelations is pretty much a direct descendant of the prior project, Arcanoria Chronicles, and re-uses a large percentage of what was already done for that title. So, consider Revelations both as a separate, new game idea, and at same time an extension of prior ideas. It does have a different game focus, as an Action RPG, as compared with Arcanoria Chronicles, which was a more traditional style quest-oriented RPG.

Most recently, I’ve been busy integrating the GameSparks platform, configuring and coding the server to work with our Revelations client. GameSparks is a backend-as-a-service (BaaS) that will provide many capabilities to our game, including player management and analytics, in-game economy, achievements, virtual goods purchasing, friends lists, leaderboards, in-game chat, teams/partying, tournaments, global events, and much more.

Less recently, over the last couple of months, I put in some hours working in some other areas, including:

  • creating some game scene terrains with Gaia, for testing during development
  • customizing the character controller and camera
  • implementing some very basic monster AI using Behavior Designer
  • integrated game config file data saving/recalling
  • creating and hooking up some UI game menus
  • … among other things!

Alas, there’s not much to show here yet (visually), but more pics should be coming soon-ish! For now, I will leave you with this oh-so-elegant snapshot of my programmer-art login screen:

Arcanoria Revelations Login panel

Login panel

Arcanoria Chronicles Hits Back Burner

I was really hoping to have something more to show by the end of last year (2015) on Arcanoria Chronicles. But you know how it goes for us lone wolf developer types. “Stuff came up”. Unfortunately, it’s been on my back burner all year this year (2016). So this post is kinda old news already!

I’m going to call this a post-mortem at this point. But before I moved on to “other things”, I did manage to make Arcanoria Chronicles into a demo that includes the following:

  • randomized runtime dungeon generation, using Aegon Games’ DunGen
  • interactive branching conversations with NPCs, using Pixel Crushers’ Dialogue System
  • usable transportation portals between adventuring areas
  • dynamic NPC avatars with fully customized face/body, using UMA
  • wearable armor and weapons, mostly by WillB Game Art
  • a working home-grown inventory system
  • and more! (TM)

What’s Next?

So anyway, yeah, Arcanoria Chronicles is on the back burner for now. Not sure if I’ll be picking it up again any time soon. Maybe I will if there seems to be public interest! But I’m certainly going to be stealing ideas and code for other projects in the future. If you’re going to steal ideas, you may as well steal from yourself whenever possible.

In fact, I’ve already stolen many of those ideas for “other projects” earlier this year. However, I was not really at liberty to speak about those projects at the time. Suffice it to say that I joined a team that wasn’t specifically game related, but was still able to use and adapt some of the same code base that I’ve been developing over the years in my own projects. My code and work definitely benefited the team, but it’s now time for me to focus back on my own game development work.

Speaking of which… here’s a quick teaser screenshot from a project I just started this week. My first solo game dev project in a long while! I’d love to hear what you think, as always. 🙂

new project

new game development project – december 2016

Arcanoria Chronicles: Dev Update

This is a quick development status update regarding my upcoming role-playing game, Arcanoria Chronicles: Chapter 1 – Early Adventures of Elora Smyth.

First, I’d like to say that I’m sorry that things are taking a little longer than planned.  I had originally hoped to make the first release as a “Game In A Month”, however, as I (and many others before me) have discovered, RPGs are ALWAYS more work than they seem.  I’m working hard towards our initial release, and expect to make it happen “soon”.  Realistically, that means by the end of October for an Alpha release.  I think!  I’ve got our part-time intern Thomas Frick coming in today to assist with story writing.  Specifically, he’ll be working on pre- and post-combat dialogues for our first few monster encounters.  Should be fun, I hope!

Besides the ongoing dialogue refinements (remember, this is a heavily story-based game), I’ve been working on making all the various user interface (UI) elements interactive.  Up until now everything has been static placeholder artwork for the various in-game screens like the player Inventory panel, Character Stats sheet, etc.  Over the last few days I’ve been hooking those panels up to actual dynamic statistics, so when some dialogue or other game event causes a change to the player, it’s updated automatically when they look at their Character Stats.

Speaking of UI, I want to mention that I’ve been getting a better feel for the “new” Unity UI, and am really liking it in many ways.  I’m never going back to NGUI (which is what I’d previously used in pretty much every Unity project I’d ever done).  Unity UI seems much more stable and reliable, and seems to actually do what I expect (without lots of trial and error) more often than NGUI ever did.  In particular, I’m really enjoying the Unity UI’s new auto-layout components, like Horizontal Layout Group, Layout Element, etc..  These allow you to designate groups of UI elements and have them position themselves dynamically in your UI panel, with exactly the right amount of spacing, margins, etc.  This saves so much time over doing manual placement of every single element, and also allows your panels to scale according to the device it’s displaying on.  Brilliant!

Here is a quick screenshot of the Inventory UI panel, work-in-progress:

Arcanoria Chronicles Chapter 1 - Inventory UI - 2015-10-15_8-02-29

Arcanoria Chronicles Chapter 1 – Inventory UI WIP

Arcanoria Chronicles, Chapter And Verse

My new game Arcanoria Chronicles is coming along nicely!  I’ve been doing a bunch of research, including learning about precious metals, and ancient mining practices.  And I’ve been working on backstory.  Lots of backstory.  You can’t have a good RPG without deep characters, with realistic motivations.  One of the first things that becomes obvious when writing backstory is that you need other stories behind the stories, and then the stories all require a setting, and more characters, and then THEY have to have motivations, and be realistic.  And then we have the possibility of complex relationships between people, and factions of people.

This is exactly what’s currently cooking on the front burner in Arcanoria Chronicles!  But there’s already more story than we can come close to covering in one “short” RPG.  So, we’ve changed the name slightly!  “Arcanoria Chronicles” will now be a series of (relatively!) short adventure games, with the target for each “Chapter” to be playable end-to-end in about 10-20 hours.  Then we’ll release additional Chapters over time, chronicling different events and the adventures of some of the main characters in the Arcanoria mythos.

The first chapter will be called: “Arcanoria Chronicles – Chapter 1: Early Adventures of Elora Smyth”.

And here’s a sneak preview of the map of the area, which I’ve been working on, to go along with all the backstory.

map - Fairmont Range

New Game In Development: Arcanoria Chronicles

Over the last few weeks, I’ve begun working on a smaller implementation of our huge flagship MMORPG, Arcanoria.  The new game (entitled Arcanoria Chronicles) will have a much smaller technical scope than the massive online game, obviously, but I’ll be exploring and expanding the Arcanoria backstory and mythos, as well as trying out some ideas for character customization and development.  We’re planning to develop this new project in multiple stages.

Announcing…

Arcanoria Chronicles is a single player medieval fantasy RPG, focusing on storytelling and character development.

The game is still in early development, and is not yet available for public play testing. Expected release of a preliminary version (with more limited backstory implementation) in September 2015.

Features

  • Deep backstory and cast, with subplots and intrigue.
  • Randomized/parameterized cave dungeon level generation, offering unique challenges.
  • Character customization and development.
  • Custom quest and interaction system.
  • Original music, custom written for this game by Walt Collins.

Here’s a short video showing early versions of the quest/interaction system, and the randomized cave dungeon.

Pesticide Patrol Hits The Streets

Our recent game Pesticide Patrol has reached the point where it’s ready to fly.  We’ve created a new dedicated page for the game, which is available to play for free on itch.io!  Please let us know what you think of the game.  We’d love to hear from you!

We’ve made a few changes since the previous pre-alpha, and we think it’s more or less bug free.  Well… actually there are lots of bugs, but they’re for YOU to deal with, in game!

I was able to get to level 13 while playing at Normal difficulty.  How far can you get??  GAME ON.

Pesticide Patrol – pre-alpha

My little experiment with in-game grid systems is coming along nicely.  It’s now an actual game, with actual gameplay.  Here’s a feature list of things already implemented:

  • Audio: combat sound FX, voiceover audio clips, and original background music (edited clip of Electric Strut)
  • Gameplay: increasing level of difficulty as you complete each level
  • UI screens: splash, welcome, settings, play, level complete, game over
  • debris rocks (allow for more tactical choices during play)
  • simple RPG storyline

I’ve got a plan for further development, but I’m not sure how far I want to take it.  Here is a short list of prospective game features that are not yet implemented:

  • ability to pause for a turn (and let the bugs move)
  • add more debris types (small trees/bushes, possibly multi-cell debris)
  • add consumables, like health potions, speed potions, pesticide refills, etc., that can be found randomly in the grid, along with new UI elements to see how many you’ve got of each, and new keyboard/mouse commands to consume the items
  • add gold loot to the cell after an insect is killed, and a whole new shop/inventory screen to spend your gold and upgrade your weapons and armor/clothing
  • randomized rogue-like multi-room levels, including a down staircase in one room, so you can further invade the monsters’ lair, and take the fight underground!

Is it worth spending the time to implement these features?

Don’t Bug Me!

Now that the GrudgeMatch demo is as done as we’re going to make it without funding, I’ve begun working on “other projects” again.  This includes a new song release on my music site, as well as continued game development work.  Recently, I’ve kicked off a new “even smaller” all-new game development project.  I’m calling it “Don’t Bug Me!”

While my goal is still to release my longer term projects (CyberGhost and Arcanoria), I’ve found that I keep running into technical and creative roadblocks, and need to explore “simpler” projects in order to work out some of these issues, in preparation for the larger projects.  In the spirit of simplification, I’m trying to focus on learning how to release smaller games.  I’m thinking of this as a “game in a month” project.  I’ve got no experience with releasing a game yet!  Hopefully, if I keep making my ideas smaller and smaller, I’ll eventually hit upon something I can finish, and then work from there. 🙂

Anyway, here’s a sneak peek at a reeeeally early pre-pre-alpha prototype (more of a partial tech demo at this point) of “Don’t Bug Me!”

early prototype screenshot of Don't Bug Me!

early prototype screenshot of Don’t Bug Me!

 

Still here!

Sorry for the lack of updates.  It’s been 11 months since my last confession… er, I mean blog post!  It’s been an eventful 11 months, but I’ll share some quick highlights.

  • CyberGhost is still in process, but on the back burner.  I shelved it for…
  • Started developing an MMORPG game kit called “WRKit“, shorthand for “Walt’s RPG Kit”.  This was begun last summer, and was intended as a more generic solution to RPG game templates, and would have helped with CyberGhost if I’d finished it.  Trouble was I’d also wanted to include networking capability so it could handle online games.  This was going pretty well for a while, until I realized how much support I would have to offer to anyone adopting my kit.  And since that prospect didn’t appeal to me, I scrapped it.
  • After that, I waffled briefly about going back to CyberGhost development (which I do still intend to get back to, but not yet…).  I decided instead to go back to my primary genre of medieval fantasy, and re-started working on Arcanoria, but not as an MMORPG.  Instead I began working on a single-player RPG version of Arcanoria.  Made some decent progress creating terrains and water.  Was hoping to get something released by end of year 2014.  Didn’t quite get it playable, and was disappointed again.
  • Stopped doing game dev entirely for 2 months in January and February 2015, and focused on my music.  I managed to release my first electronic music album!  The album title is Cerulean Sojourn.  Check it out here if you’re interested:  http://waltcollins.com/music/
  • In the last few weeks, I’ve been working with my old friend Dave Young (http://rev4media.com/ ) on a new project, called Grudge Match.  This project has some HUGE possibilities, including a linked TV show!  Here’s a promo video (which I helped to edit) about the project.  More to come about that in future blog posts.

CyberGhost – In Development

CyberGhost was begun on March 1st, 2014, as a project intended for the 10-day Cyberpunk Game Jam.  Obviously we’re way past that now, but it’s still under daily active development.  I’ve been busy updating Matrix City, and working on some backstory for the main quest line.  I’ve also created an office scene for indoor “information gathering” runs.  Here are some screenshots from the latest build.  Let me know what you think! 🙂

2014-04-10_22-32-16 2014-04-10_22-27-08 2014-04-10_22-27-38 2014-04-10_22-28-14 2014-04-10_22-29-10 2014-04-10_22-30-28