Development Diary #13 – Steady Progress

It’s time for another development diary. Enjoy!

=== New Features ===

  • New Action/Tool User Interface. There is now a UI bar on the left of the screen, with six free slots, and a guestbook.
    • Previously, the player could only hold one item at once (for example, when holding a tankard, you couldn’t pick up a piece of wood). It is now possible to carry up to six of these kinds of items that are used for interacting with the play space. You can cycle between these slots with the mouse wheel, or directly select them by clicking on them.
    • The guestbook interface has been incorporated into this sidebar. When active, the player can click on themselves to (eventually) access general information about the inn, or click on a guest in order to open the page which is unique for that guest (and then assign them to bedrooms, etc).
    • Depending on the slot which is active, the cursor sprite will now change to reflect the item in that slot.


=== Improvements ===

  • Improvements to the walkways.
    • Widened the boards considerably. Incorporated the top of the stairs into the walkway sprites, to resolve some draw order issues. Altered look of original walkway sprites, to help with seamless connection with new rail sprites.
    • Created fancy new rail sprites for the walkways. Added railing to the stairs.
  • Restored old prototype functionality to the new fireplace. This meant drawing new flame graphics, adding new glow graphics, and making the fireplace look nicer in general when the fire is on.
  • New design for revealing the bedrooms. Previously, when entering a bedroom the main wall sprites would fade away in places. This looked reasonably neat, but I wasn’t satisfied with the aesthetic. In particular, it ended up making the sprites look flat. I’ve begun to incorporate a new system where the walls hiding the bedrooms cut away, like a cross section. Some of the geometry of the walls can be better seen this way (like the way the plaster is covering over wattle and daub walls). The thickness of the walls being visible is a really nice look. I’ve also extended this to how the walkways fade for revealing the bedrooms. Overall, I think this was a big step forward.
  • Improvements to the system for scaling character sprites, including the player. This helps with the illusion of depth. Scaling makes use of the Y axis. However with walkways and stairs this system becomes a little inadequate. It was necessary to create an offset value, which would be appended to the Y axis value. So, if the player is standing above or below the walkway the actual value computed for scale is roughly the same. What makes things more complicated is the stairs. Here, the offset value has to be calculated dynamically, rising as the player heads up to the second level. Still a few little kinks in it to iron out, but this system is looking pretty good as a permanent solution.

 === Decisions ===

Over the last few weeks I’ve also made some further decisions about the future direction of Innkeep. In particular, I’ve made some choices about what features I won’t be adding to the game. These are:

  • Walking outside the inn, along a town street which would have shops where you can buy things.
  • Being able to fight guests, or have guests fight each other.

Both of these features would be neat. Don’t get me wrong. On the other hand, I can say for sure that they would take a substantial amount of time to implement, and are not essential to the core of the game. Now that I can start to better get a feel for what this game is, I’m a bit more confident in making these kinds of decisions. Effectively, I want to take the energy I would have put into these features, and instead pile them into really polishing up what I think is the central idea/spirit of the game.

 === Special Thanks ===

A thank you and shout out to my fantastic Patreon supporters.

Louise Burke

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