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!
Since I jumped back into regular development of this project a couple of months ago I’ve had a lot of time to think more about what the game might look like in its final form. Recently a few more pieces of the puzzle have started to fall into place, and I’m quite convinced I’m on the right path. So I thought I might introduce what my current concept of the game is.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After another long break it’s finally time for a fresh developer diary.
=== New Features ===
Quite a big gap there between development updates. I have given game dev a rest while focusing on moving house, getting my own full time occupational stuff moving forward a bit more, etc. I’m all set up as of now though with a nice new office space.
Taking a rest seems to have helped me look at this project with a fresh eye. I’ve got some good new ideas on how to move forward, and also on how to actually implement things I was thinking about for a long time.
I do have a nice list of improvements already done since my last video back in February, but its mostly behind the scenes stuff. Given that I have some cool stuff that I plan to implement in the near future I’m guessing I might well have something to show pretty soon. Looking forward to it. 😉
Some cool people have kickstarted a game set in a fantasy world tavern.