A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

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A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Feenicks »

Now that I've got a demo out, and also made a few changes after putting out that demo, I should probably get a dev thread going and not limit all my updates to discord/twitter.

Anyway!
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First off, I've gone and bumped up the resolution a bit. It gives me a bit more room to work with, but more importantly divides nicely into a 1080p resolution, as opposed to the screen size I was using before [to say nothing of False Skies' resolution]. 480 pixels across feels about as large as I can get before the sprite size I'm using gets utterly lost, so it's probably staying here.
door0324.png
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Second, I've started on improvements to the party selection screen. It's the most WIPish of all the subscreens so far, and while that hasn't changed, I've moved some stuff around and added in a box that shows you what your prior party arrangement was. This'll all be more useful in the final game, where you have more than the four party members you have access to in the demo, of course. I'll probably move around and/or add additional stuff to this screen in the future, as I figure out what it needs.
All the other screens have been changed to fit the increased resolution as well, but that's not very interesting.

As for other stuff I've done in the interim, it's been mostly housekeeping and bugfixes/mechanical changes. Walking perpendicular to a diagonal wall now works properly, and you now get bumped a bit when moving up/down against a corner. Once I'm off break I'll probably get to working on tilesets and hacking out other systems I've neglected so far.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Feenicks »

Back from my vacation, and while I was doing some development over it it's nice to get back into things for real. I'm still doing systems stuff, but hopefully I'll be in a position to be comfortable making something concrete soon.

Anyway!
door0331.png
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Chasing enemies get a little popup when they start going after you, which changes into a '...' if you leave the area where they chase you. I drew a bunch of different popups as well, which I'll probably be using for situations where I want to have a sign or such guide the player but where a textbox would be a bit too flow-breaking.
door0334.gif
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I also got in-battle enemy summons set up. There's only two types of summon animation so far [fade in and rush from the right-hand side of the screen], but adding more would be pretty easy.
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There's also a [still kinda rudimentary] map system now. It fills in as you go through an area, and highlights the current room you're in. Paging between different floors isn't in yet, but shouldn't take too long to do; paging between different dungeons entirely will take a bit longer, but I'll wait until I have more than one dungeon I'm working on to do that. Whatever I end up doing, having a map will probably help a bit with navigating areas, especially since I'm probably going to have areas generally be a bit more segmented than in False Skies.
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I've also done a minor bit of work on the equipment screen; now things like status resistances/weaknesses and elemental damage rates are here, sitting in the part of the screen that gets covered up by the equipment menu.
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And lastly, a shop screen. Still needs some sprucing up, but that'll be easy to do in time. I'll need to figure out how exactly I'll be slotting in extra details - probably in the bottom, next to the item description - but I can figure that out once I get around to it.

_______________

Well, that's it for now. Maybe next time I'll have started drawing some new areas and can show those off.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Bluefeather42 »

Like False Skies, looks to be an excellent showcase of what OHR can do.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Feenicks »

More stuff:
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One of the systems I liked in False Skies, but felt could do with a bit of a revision, was the Skill Family system. For those of you who don't remember, the skill family system grouped skills that were functionally identical/really similar but for their power into groups, and replaced lower-tier versions of them with higher-tier ones if you leveled up a class that learned that higher-tier skill. As it turned out, though, I had a lot of different skill families [to say nothing of all the skills not affiliated with a skill family], and so skill lists ended up getting bloated to the point that I had to put in an overflow skill list in a update soon after I put the game out.

Here, I'm putting in something similar, with the ability for most skills to eventually be customizable, to varying degrees. It'll cost a [refundable] resource to set up a given skill customization, and multiple of these customizations can potentially be set at once.

I still need to actually set up the variations for everyone's skills, but I'm in no rush to do that.

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Next up, I've done a bit of work on textboxes. They now have a little tail pointing to the speaker [as best as it can, if said speaker is offscreen], and have the option of being positioned either above the speaker or fixed to the top of the screen [universally based on an option I still need to properly set up, but also forcibly on a case-by-case basis. I did something similar in 6 Curses, but I want to say this is slightly more refined.

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I've started on the main town's associated tilesets, as well as got started on the various NPCs. I have a base for the latter, so drawing new outfits as I need them shouldn't be too difficult. As for the town, I'll probably start trying to assemble it soon, and just draw more tiles for it as the need arises.

door0377.png
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Lastly, I've thrown together a minimap. I had it always showing up in the top-left for a minute, but I found that awfully distracting, so I ended up fixing it to the pause menu instead. I've already gone and made the player position marker a 3x3 square as opposed to the 1x1 one in the screenshot, so no need to worry about that.

______

And that's for now. Maybe next time I post I'll have started to put together some real maps and events.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Feenicks »

Update!
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I've been getting more of the first town's tilesets drawn up and filled out, and almost feel like I'm at the point at which they're nicely filled out. They'll certainly need a bit more stuff in them when it comes time to actually make all the maps, but that's to be expected.

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Neutral and/or untargetable enemies are now an option. The former don't need to be defeated in order to clear a fight, and the latter also can't even be removed from the fight; think of the similar bitsets in the default OHR battles. Importantly, though, they still count for positioning, so there's still a reason to keep them in mind [especially if I start being cruel with them]. Really, I just need to add in the boss/dies without boss bitsets and I'll have most of the traditional bitsets accounted for.

door0406.gif
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Now for something that's replicating something in a different engine's battle system! RPG Maker has what amounts to formation-specific eventing you can do, and I've gone and implemented the part of it that makes sense in this project; namely, the ability to have stuff happen before and after attacks that isn't tied to the attacks themselves. It's probably not going to be something I use that often, but being able to throw in stuff like this without too much hassle should be nice.


I also got the leveling up screen fleshed out more, did a bunch of mechanical stuff that both doesn't screenshot well and need filling out, and moved around some stuff so as to make life easier for me down the line, but those aren't quite as interesting.
______

I've also been doing Huevember, one of those many art challenges which gives you an excuse to draw 30 things on a given topic. I've been using this one, as usual, to draw a bunch of enemies sprites that I may or may not end up using.
BONUS FILE COMMENT: here's a guy
BONUS FILE COMMENT: here's a guy
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Will I have something else to show off next month? Probably.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Feenicks »

Probably the last update of the year.
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I said I'd get the dies-without-boss bitset emulated, and I did! It works as it does in the default OHR battle system: once all enemies with the boss bitset are gone, all the enemies with the dies-without-boss die along with them.
Other than that, I haven't done all that much in the way of mechanical stuff. I added in an option for defeated enemies to fade out at the same time, rather than one by one, which I'm sure won't run into some sort of odd bug at some point.
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I've also been starting to draw up and test a few of the tilesets I'll need later down the line. I have a firm idea of what I want each bit of the game to contain thematically, and having a bunch of basic tilesets drawn up for each area will help a lot when it comes time to actually make them. The last one in particular also got me to get slow and fast parallax scrolling set up [and in a way that doesn't involve a minor bit of lag, too], which is good and will come in useful for background areas.
Maybe I'll start putting them together come January.

Also, I finally got some cutscene-related stuff set up as I like it [and, more importantly, figured out how I need to set them up so as to make sure they work properly], but that's not very interesting as a screenshot.

____________________

I've also been drawing more sprites, in addition to all the ones I did for Huevember. I'm still in the just drawing guys stage of enemy setup, but once I actually start putting together areas I'll need to shift to drawing enemies to fill specific niches. That's a while off yet, thankfully.
BONUS FILE COMMENT: mouse that I may or may not actually use in the final product
BONUS FILE COMMENT: mouse that I may or may not actually use in the final product
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Anyway, I'm happy with what I've accomplished this year. At the start of the year I'd done about half a month of work on the basics of a battle system, and since then I've put in all the playable characters, drawn up a ton of assets of various sorts, increased the screen resolution twice, and also got most of the core scripts up and running as desired. Hopefully by this time next year I'll actually have something more substantial than that demo I put out a while back to show off.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Feenicks »

It's halfway through January, so here's another dev post.
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Drawing stuff continues. I started hashing out the tileset for an area of the game that I won't be getting to for a while, and drew a proper background for the exterior areas of the first dungeon, which I should probably work on fully setting up.
-
door0005.gif
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Also in the realm of things I don't need quite yet: I got proper parallax scrolling in last year, but I went and changed up a few camera-related things so that it was even more stable [most noticeably when it came to static backgrounds], and drew a mountain background to test it out. Said mountain background is not quite polished to the degree I want it to, but that can come when I actually need it.
-
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I've also started to pick at skill variants. Forward Lance here currently has two; one that increases how far forward it sends Cygna by half again, and another that removes defense buffs to deal increased damage. It's one of those things that involves converting stuff I have in a spreadsheet into scripts and also isn't vitally important to do right now, but gradually picking away at it is good.
-
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As for another thing that I'm picking away, I got another attack animation set up. There's actually two versions of this - one with the extra effects going on with the targets, and one without - and also a third that's just a single projectile going from the user to the target.

____________________

There's also a bunch of other things I've done and had to hash out since the last update that aren't exactly worth talking about here. As it turns out, an RPG has a lot of things you need to consider while making it!

That's it for now, though. Maybe I'll have finished the intro by this time next month.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by shakeyair »

This looks great! Super impressive, great art and animations. Nitpick but especially with the high level of polish everywhere else it stands out that there's no margins on some of the UI boxes, makes the text feel a bit crowded.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Feenicks »

That's fair. The UI is still something I'll give another pass once I get further along in development, but I went and made some minor tweaks here and there, including changing the margins on a few things.
Attachments
There's some readability issues when the HP total gets to four digits and starts going over the MP bar, but I'll probably be doing some fancy custom text slice stuff in the future and so don't really want to commit too much right now.
There's some readability issues when the HP total gets to four digits and starts going over the MP bar, but I'll probably be doing some fancy custom text slice stuff in the future and so don't really want to commit too much right now.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Bluefeather42 »

Stupid question: IS that the default battle system or did you just make one that looks like it?
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Feenicks »

It's a custom one. There's some very fundamental stuff about it that would be either incredibly cumbersome/fragile or downright impossible to do in the default battle system.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Feenicks »

Another month, another update.

First, I've been getting some more attack animation types set up.
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Lightning and an expanding circle effect are in. The former is randomly drawn up; the latter requires a very large attack animation sprite that's now sitting in my attack animation folder, but as a result has a few other variants that were pretty easy to set up.

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In the interest of getting the next area I'll be making set up, I went and got some graphical stuff for it set up. Walking in tall grass overlays a translucent graphic on top of the hero/npc in it, while the water is another example of me abusing the existence of 10-frame tile animations.
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As for the intro dungeon, that's more-or-less wrapped up. It's fairly dense in terms of small cutscenes, but I feel that's pretty expected of an intro dungeon. It's also fairly brief, but that's probably more a function of a faster walk speed and a larger screen size making maps feel a lot smaller than they would in a regular OHR game.


And to end things off, the door the game's named after:
door0055.png
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You'll be using this to get to most other places in the game, so I'll be needing to figure out the UI for when you interact with it soon.

____________________

And that, for now, is that. There's some other things I did this month, but as usual they're either more organizational stuff or just not that interesting. I feel I'm going a bit slowly with some things, but as it turns out making a game at this scale requires drawing and scripting out a lot of stuff, most of which aren't even big flashy showy things.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Feenicks »

Another month, another update.

First, two important terrain types:
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Ice is of the extremely slippery kind; no amount of mashing the buttons will change that. Pitfalls are of the... pitfally variety?? They work as you'd expect, taking your x/y position and dumping you onto another map, but this time they're flashier than how I did them in FS [except when the tileset doesn't allow for it or NPCs would be around to show how I'm pulling off this effect].
door0106.gif
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Hidden objects are also in! They work about as you'd expect [as in you can walk over where they are, but it takes interacting with the right space to get them]. I'll try and not make these too common.
door0083.gif
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I had the default fadeins/fadeouts until now, but I kinda prefer the 'subtract until zero' type of fadeout, thus the change. The player staying in the walking animation wasn't intentional, but it feels appropriate for the visual style I'm going for.
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gaplan wants me to animate some of the grass as well; maybe one day. also ignore the number there
gaplan wants me to animate some of the grass as well; maybe one day. also ignore the number there
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Ttwo battle-related things, one of which isn't even graphics-related.

The first is some new in-battle items. Nullmirror returns from FS, albeit in a more neutral form, but two varieties are also present here. Dispel Bell is the all-targeting version of Nullmirror, while Dispel Whistle is the busted endgame version that you only ever see one of.

The second is a new battle background. This one uses a similar trick to the desert background to fully do its animation, but also not really. The clouds there take four and a half minutes to scroll across the screen.
door0121.png
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And lastly, a temple. I really need to get the shadows in on this map; once I'm done mapping it out they'll go in, and I'm also tempted to change the tops of those pillars around a bit.
____________________

And that's another month gone. I do feel I'm slowly climbing out of the pit that is finding constant new things I need to do around making dungeons and enemies and the like, but I still have a ways to go on that yet. As usual, I'll figure out what needs to get taken off the to-do pile first as I dive into it.
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by Bob the Hamster »

This is looking extremely good!
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Re: A Door To the Heavens [The devlog thread]

Post by RMZ »

Are there any plans to animate the enemies in battle? I realize that's a ton of work, and I don't blame you if you don't. The little simple idle animations do a lot. It's looking great overall.
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