Developer Diary #11 – The Next Level

Hi everybody. It’s time for development diary number 11. The work I’m showing today is easily the single largest update to the game so far in terms of hours invested.

=== New Features ===

–   A reworking of the art assets for the inn interior from the ground up, including:
Common room
Flagstone floor
New walls.
Kitchen
Herringbone tile floor
New walls
A stable
Unique floor and walls.
Bedrooms.
All unique floors and walls.

–   Reworking of walkways and staircases, making them into discrete objects that can now properly be walked on top of and under.
–   A new system for controlling player movement depending on what depth they are in. Barriers which exist when you are on the ground level are removed when you are upstairs, and conversely barriers which exist for upstairs are removed when on the ground level.
–   The inn now has bedrooms! When entering a bedroom the main wall fades away, and any walkways which are blocking your view become translucent.

=== Improvements ===

–   Fixed a long running serious issue where dynamic scaling of the character object caused its bounding box (which was scaling along with it) to expand into the bounding boxes of objects that it was passing by alongside. This could cause the object to get stuck, or even crash the game. Now, the player object still scales dynamically, but doesn’t actually have its own bounding box. Instead it simply follows a hidden box object which has a stable bounding box and has been given all of the movement code. Collision issues that had annoyed me for a long time are now totally gone, and everything is running smooth as silk in that department. Pixel perfect collision is back!
–   More behind the scenes changes to how some objects are loaded in order to make the room editor less messy.
–   Improvements to the bar to make it fit properly in the game space.

Update

Hi everyone.

I’ve missed a second screenshotsaturday in a row on /r/gamemaker, and I’ve barely posted anything on twitter in the last two weeks either! The truth is I’m pretty close to having everything ready for a development video. I think if I pushed through for ten or twenty hours of development it would be definitely doable. But I really can’t find that ten or twenty hours just now, given my responsibilities for my day job. It’s kind of frustrating that I can’t show off a few hundred hours of work for the lack of finding ten or twenty hours, but that’s the situation. I’ll be putting Innkeep on hold for a few more weeks most likely. My current guess is that I’ll release the dev video around Christmas. Meanwhile in January and February I’m hoping to have a couple of shorter updates, once I’ve shifted back to working on game mechanics.

Dev Update – 31st October

Still creeping towards a dev diary video. Looks like it won’t happen till November. I have added the shadowing to the main wall that I spoke about last week.

shadowsin

And created some new stairs matching the new walkway style too.

newstairsprite

In fact, all of the new sprites (except for the shadowed floor), have been scaled down, sliced up, and put into the game.

newsprites.png

What remains to be done is to fix misalignments with the blocking objects (invisible lines that dynamically switch depending on what level you are on), and get the fading working for each of the  bedrooms.

Here’s an example of how it should look.

wallfade

And one more.

roomtwofade

I need to do the same for another ten bedrooms, which might take a  little time. After this and the blocking object alignment are done, it’s on to looking at re-adding the tables, chairs, bar, etc, and fixing some alignment issues in the old walls for the kitchen and stable, which were never put into my master image file. Finally the fireplace will need substantial reworking to fit with all the changes that have happened. It also just needed a visual improvement regardless.

When all that is done, I will finally be just about ready to make a video showing it all off. I’m hoping for mid November, but I have a lot of other commitments, so we shall see.

In the meantime, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter if you want more immediate updates on what I have been doing.

 

 

 

Dev update – 24th October

 

I’ve had another busy week working on Innkeep, focusing on reworking the walkway with an updated texture that fits better with the main wall and the floors of the second level bedrooms, and heavily redesigning the main wall texture. It used to look like this..

fitting-together

But this was created prior to the adding of any of the bedrooms or the creation of a perspective-checking master image file. Now we have something that actually fits with there being two floors behind it, and that has actual doorways. But getting there meant messing with the geometry. I put a lot of effort into the original image, meaning that it looked nice, but it wasn’t easy to change in a significant way.

twofloors

In the above image you can see the extra line of wooden cross beams that I have added in, minus any border lines, or shadows. The diagonal beams are also now out of wack.

newwallbaby

With the bulk of the cleaning up done I could use the master image file to make sure that I had the texture fit with the positions of the bedrooms (the sprites for the bedroom walls and floors are on separate layers).

sopretty

And here is the stage I have reached. If you compare this image with an old picture of the interior of the inn you can see quite a difference in quality. However the old image is actually better in a key respect.

25

The old image has some major shadows baked in. For example, along the top, and on the wall underneath the walkways. I’m going to work this in next, along with a bit more grime, and that should help make it looks a little more natural.

I’m going to start slowing down the pace a fair bit going forward as I shift back to taking care of my day job, but I’m pretty excited about releasing a development video in the near future show-casing all the updating I’ve done to the interior of the inn. This still might be another week or two away after all (the goal keeps on receding as I approach it, and I think I’ve finally learnt to stop trying to sprint what is actually a marathon).

 

Chugging along

rebuilding

Hi everybody. This humble wordpress site recently hit a 1000 visitor milestone. I’ve also gained 40 new twitter followers in the last 28 days. It seems like this project is starting to get a little traction, and I think part of the thanks goes to the effort I’ve been putting in to upgrading the game art.

I do post a few screenshots (like the above one) on this site, but if you haven’t already done so you can see a lot more of what I have been working on if you check out the media section of my twitter feed.

What am I doing right now? Still working on re-creating the basic assets of the interior of the inn, from the ground up (quite literally, as I started back in early September with the flagstone floor of the inn). Things are nearing completion on that front, but there have been hiccups along the way. One major issue being inconsistencies with the perspective I’ve used. I love the perspective I’m using for this project, but I wasn’t quite smart enough at the beginning to make sure I had a workflow that would make everything conform properly. So now I’ve found I need to go back and create a kind of master graphics file that holds everything in it as a separate layer.

Using this approach I can easily see what isn’t fitting together, and why. So that’s what I’m getting stuck into at the moment, and I’m making good progress. However the brand new main walls which I made about 6 weeks earlier already look like they need some reworking to fit with everything else nicely (including the 12 bedrooms I have recently added), so that might take a bit of effort. Once that is done though it should be clear sailing, with a bit of tiding up, and then a big dev video to showcase the work of the last couple of months. Really looking forward to it!

 

For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow

A few weeks ago I made a rough storyboard of the game intro. Here it is as a GIF. Imagine it played at about half speed or less, to the tune of a softly sung “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”.

 

innkeep_storyboard_gif

This kind of tells you a fair bit about the setting and your main character. It’s a bit creepy. Right from the start you are introduced to your player character as a person who loots a battlefield in order to buy an inn. But we also know that it is a world at war. And maybe desperate times call for desperate measures.

Actually, in the world of Innkeep! there will be resource scarcity. Food and drink for your inn won’t be cheap, exactly because of this war going on. And so extracting extra dollars from adventurers will become even more attractive, given that they are the only ones about with any kind of wealth. It will also make more sense as to why you might be forced to water down your drinks, or mix in “mystery” meat into your stews, given that decent quality stuff may cost quite a lot.

Reworking the Basic Art Assets for the Inn

When I first started out on this project I had an idea that down the track I would rely on a real artist to do a lot of the work needed for actually drawing the play space, the interior of the inn. But I also didn’t want to look at anything too ugly while building the game, so I decided to try my hand at making something that could serve as a stop-gap for a year or so, and give me some kind of idea about what I was doing. I downloaded GIMP, and proceeded to merrily draw away without the slightest bit of training, or any kind of research about what drawing programs are, or how to use them (basically picture a kid using MS paint).

Actually it kind of turned out pretty neat.

smokey evening

To the trained eye it might not have been much to look at, but I thought I succeeded at least in evoking the idea of an inn, and at the same time proved to myself that an angled “dollhouse” kind of perspective would work. With a bit of shadow, shading, light and smoke, it could even look a bit atmospheric.

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How I Made the Cobblestones

In the latest developer diary you can see towards the end the newly added street which has some cobblestones. I think it turned out pretty well. What has often surprised me when doing my own amateur art for this project is how reasonable something can look from a distance given how crummy it looks close up when you are working on it. I thought I might share a few of the photos of the process here that I’ve already shared on twitter.

streetwork1

So the first thing I did was get a rough idea of the shape of the stones that I wanted. Loading up gimp, I made a decently sized canvas (6000 pixels wide initially, but I lengthened that later on), and just started making some rough squares by hand.

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