Developer Diary #10 -We’ve come a long way baby

After another long break it’s finally time for a fresh developer diary.

=== New Features ===

  • When chatting, guests now create larger speech bubbles which contain pictographic representations of what they are talking about instead of text. This is visually more interesting while also being quicker to understand at a glance, and at the same time avoids the annoyance of reading the same text dozens or even hundreds of times over during a game. Each guest type will have their own favorite topics to chat about, which will help ensure that there is plenty of variety. It can be a major way by which to inject some flavor and humor into the game.
  • The days are now divided into two phases; morning and evening. During the morning phase there are no guests, it is brighter, and the candles are not lit. There is no time limit on this phase. The player is free to do some shopping in town for supplies, engage in narrative events with visitors, make strategic choices for the coming evening (chosing what to cook, what barrels to have ready, etc.), and do repairs and cleaning if necessary. The evening plays as per normal, with the candels lit, guests coming into the inn, and a timer counting down to closing time.
  • There is now an in-game menu which can be pulled up by hitting the escape key. This menu pauses the game, in case you need to leave the computer for a bit. It also lets you exit to the main menu, or just quit the game directly. It’s pretty simple looking, but getting something in that is functional is the first step.
  • The game now automatically saves itself at the start of each new day. This is indicated by a little flashing save-game icon. You can now continue your previous game from the main menu. As it only saves per day, this makes the system relatively simple. But it does have to keep track of all the barrels, tankards and so forth.
  • The main menu now has sub menus for “NEW GAME” and “LOAD A SAVED GAME” options. In each menu you have a number of save game slots (4) to choose from. The game will keep track of which slot is being used, so you can have multiple games playing at once. Some extra functionality/aesthetic improvements need doing in the near future, but for now it is functional.
  • You can now go outside. This can only be done during the morning phase. The main function of the street outside is to act as a shopping menu. The player will later be able to visit a number of shops on the street, and replenish the supplies of the inn. It’s entirely possible however that this play space might also be used for narrative events and other purposes in the future though.

=== Improvements ===

  • Standardization of all the masks and origin points of the guests and their various sub-sprites. Slight differences were contributing to some quirkiness with their sitting down at tables. This is one of those things I should have realized was important from the beginning. Going forward all new guests will now adhere to the new standard.
  • Behind the scenes I did a lot of cleaning up the main play space. Instead of directly placing objects such as the kitchen wall and the dark screens for fade-in/fade-out inside the room editor I’ve got them now loading up from an initialization script. What that means is that when I’m looking at the room in editor mode I no longer have it cluttered up with a bunch of stuff that I have to shift out of the way and then back in place again. That was a real head-ache and something I should have fixed earlier. Well, now it’s done and it makes other things muuuch easier to tinker with. This will be a big help later on as more things get added to the play space. I’ve also gone ahead and done the same thing for all the benches. Each table now loads its own benches when it is loaded by the room. This means I don’t have to drag and drop them out of the way to adjust something else, but also it will make it easier later on to handle the destruction/fixing of benches and tables.
  • Polished up the main menu game title sprite a little, and added a little speech bubble that appears shouting for drinks etc. The window the bubble appears out of, the drink etc. asked for, and the timing between bubble appearances have all been randomized. I’ve gone ahead and added this because I’m getting the feeling that these bubbles are becoming iconic for this games style and I wanted to do more to push/recognize that aesthetic a bit more. The stark white of the bubbles contrasts against the more subdued colors of the game nicely, as well as against the black of the menu.
  • Fixed how pipe smoke is drawn so that it is now a sprite which replaces the sprites of the guests temporarily much like tankards do. This is so that they have the same scaling applied to them as guests do, dependent on their location in the room. Previously pipe smoke was just a simple sprite drawn in place, which led to wierdness depending on where the guest was. Now it looks much more natural.
  • The innkeep now moves smoothly when using keyboard inputs. When you press down on a key he picks up speed until reaching maximum speed, when you stop pressing he slows down gradually.
  • Speech bubbles, large and small, both now fade out over a couple of seconds, instead of suddenly disappearing.
  • The common room now has windows. They look different depending on if it is morning or evening.

 

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