The life of an independent software developer could be compared to that of a rat. For months I've quietly nibbled on work getting ever closer to the goal of long-term survival. Here's the cheese I've stashed away since last time.
Bring Me Hope looks different?
The Possum Tom's advice was to shift background colors down in value (darker) and middle depth (less important stuff) objects into the middle values. This is the only scene I've completely reworked so far. Rat artists move slowly but steadily.
SpritePile 2.0 and Xor's shaders
I asked Xor to make SpritePile beautiful. I said, "I have all the 3D data ready to go, make it pretty pls". Like a rat parent I provided the hole in the wall for my rat family to flourish.
I'm not going to use my development sharing space for this topic since it's a bit personal. Although it went against my rat-like nature, I came out a few months ago, I left the comforts of my rat den, (actually about 2 weeks after my last blog post) and life has been much better since then.
I've been silent for the most part for a few months now and hopefully for the better. Here's what happened since the last blog post.
Four months later, what got done?
You can teleport between praesidios (checkpoints) now.
One of the optional bosses (Guppo) is partially finished. We have a unique set of art just for this encounter.
You can find items in chests now. We did a very "Zelda-like" animation for this because dopamine.
Combat is actually fun now (don't pay attention to the random unfinished art). I'd argue that it can feel pretty anime at times.
You like tech do ya?
Here is some home-brewed verlet physics. We use these for banners.
Here's the super fun and exciting text parser that I threw together.
What you are NOT seeing in this post
There are a number of new characters (both friendly and opposing), lots of new items, a questing system, and a lot of other new features. This is a very large game and I struggle with its scope on a near daily basis. Here's what I'm hoping to show you in the next post... but let's see it in a list format, for all you list nerds.
We're just weeks away from launching our Kickstarter and the pressure has never been so apparent. Our finances are dwindling and like a cactus in the valley we are hoping for the drought to come to an end. Here's where we are at!
Gifs and Eye Candy
What you're seeing here is ambient occlusion, kind of. We built a tileset of shadows that I dynamically create based on where walls are. We build it into a vertex buffer and then draw it. It is super performant and adds a lot of depth to the lighting within any scene.
Finally Seeing Our Game
This is one of those games that you can't really play until you've laid out a good amount of content and all the core systems are fully fleshed out. Imagine how disappointing it would be to play an MMO with no other players. Some features are vital to the experience you want to deliver.
A few weeks ago we started to see glimpses of what Bring Me Hope could be. We had finally finished the perk system, marking the last core feature to be implemented. Now we just need about 15 more minutes of story content and we'll have a very satisfying demo.
Kickstarter and What's Expected
So there I was skimming Kickstarter game projects trying to see what people expected from you when you asked for $100,000 in funding. Turns out people have pretty reasonable standards. In my search I found a Stardew Valley clone that was more or less a straight rip off but despite my apparently higher standards it had raised well over $700,000!
Maybe I'm Trying Too Hard
Alright so let's cut to the chase. I've pretty much cemented the idea that I have unrealistic standards for my own work nowadays. In the past maybe not so much but today I'm a stereotype "never happy" artist. I've spent the past few months confronting this side of myself and accepting it. I don't care if my standards aren't reasonable. I want to do my very best and I want those who are on the project with me to also give it their best efforts.
Anyways here's the results of the past two months.
What's New You Ask?
I'm on a grind to add over 100 items to the game prior to the release of the Kickstarter demo. We're at a little over 65 at the moment. Besides that I've spent a lot of time refactoring code to support multiple languages, ingame patch notes, all aspect ratios, and everything else most indie games don't bother with because it's a waste of time if your game isn't already making money.
Let's Talk Marketing
Like many aspiring creative types I've seen hundreds of hours of "How To" videos on the subject of marketing. It's all stupid bullshit without the proper context. Posting on Twitter every day doesn't mean you'll have wider reach if nobody follows you on Twitter. Maintaining a development blog doesn't mean you'll get more sales if nobody wants your game. Are you starting to catch onto the theme?
If your game is boring, uninspired, has no target audience, and/or has no marketing then it won't sell well.
Ok so you're probably thinking, "Well Seabass if you know your game has no reach right now why aren't you doing anything about it?"
The answer is that I believe in the heart of the cards. I think that this game is so god damn good that it will sell itself if only I can give it enough lime light. This means we need a well-timed and carefully executed Kickstarter. A Steam page that grabs you by the love handles and rattles you to your core. Lastly you have to love the promise and soul of a game. Julia, Topher, and I are the soul. To help reinforce our soul we've been streaming on Twitch semi-regularly.
When's The Next Blog Post?
Every two months or when I feel it scratching its way out of my little Seabass heart. I can make no exceptions.
Welcome to another exciting entry in this public diary about the making of a game that really needs a publicized title.
It has been about two months since the last blog post and in that time we have added a lot of new features and content.
Eye candy to maintain engagement
New items, lots of new items
Completely new art
Sometimes it's difficult to recognize the progress you've made. It's even more difficult when you try to visualize how much work you've done over multiple months. I find it mind boggling how much the game has changed in just a few months.
In comparison to the screenshot seen on the right you can see that the lighting is much better. There's lens flare though it is subtle. The ground and wall tiles are massively improved. Props have shadows that add a lot of depth to the scene. Grass can be seen waving and lights hanging from seaweed ropes swing with the wind.
We officially have a Discord
We wanted to wait until we were closer to a playable demo for people to start engaging with the development of the game. It feels like it's about time to start letting people at least interact with us after nine months of silence.
Click here to join our Discord!
After a year of dropped projects and abandoned teams I found myself starving for another project to pour myself into. Queue my creation latest game project, "Bring Me Hope" or my preferred project title "My Dive Into ARPGs".
It's not uncommon for me to create games inspired by genres I don't enjoy playing. Either I have a mental condition that forces me to expose myself to concepts that I don't enjoy (most likely) or perhaps I've somehow conditioned myself to seek out new experiences (very unlikely).
Roll out the gifs
Here's an inventory gif showcasing fancy text effects I've worked on.
There's also a bit of combat being implemented.
Maybe you're big on fish minion armies like me. Maybe you're not.
Will there be more content like this?
I plan to use this blog as a journal of major milestones so yes. You will absolutely see more posts like this. Maybe one day when I'm famous I can look back at my humble beginnings (only kidding, that's too arrogant for a public blog).
After a multi-year hiatus with blog sites and being nearly silent on Twitter I've finally returned. This time I have a website with my name as the URL since that's the professional thing we all do nowadays. I'll be using this blog to post about fun programming activities, free/paid assets I may share, and from time to time career related content that I feel may benefit others in the field of game development.
Most importantly there is a place to showcase all of the work I've been doing over the years. It's a miracle that I've landed any contract jobs at all given my lack of public qualifications. Until today it has been purely word of mouth thanks to wonderful people such as Juju Adams and YellowAfterLife.
Anyways best wishes and let's hope 2020 gets cut short.