Dance magic dance

Dance magic dance.






The prince goes marching one
by one. hurrah! hurrah!

Today I completed the first version of the third major revision of Prince Onam Alden. That’s right: Onam 3.0. Unless you start counting at the recolored version of Edgar Figaro, in which case this is 4.0.

In either case, here he is: lower color, slightly larger, and not based directly upon any other game’s. That’s right, this little guy for better or worse was done sans template. I went with an asymmetrical stance based on years of admiring Chrono Trigger’s take (I still am in awe of how much they packed in so little space.), and use bright primary colors taking a cue from Lufia’s sense of design. As a result, the sprites are off-center and the sides don’t match up perfectly.

I’m mostly pleased with them, and if y’all have any feedback, please: feel free to email me. Or post on the general discussion board of verge-rpg.com. I promise one day I’ll implement comments here. I just have too many projects and not enough time…

More done than expected?



The princess breaks onto
the scene?

One of the side effects of the simplified sprites of this revision is that it’s a bit easier to cook up a finished sprite. The previous version had five frames per direction, whereas this new version has only three. That’s a total of 12 versus 20. In addition, I limited the colors I used intentionally to further speed the coloring process. With less colors, there’s less fussing over how best to shade some newly exposed area. So with 40% less frames and each frame taking less time to color, I was able to fully crank out Tanata here from scratch in under 40 minutes. Stuff like this matters when you’ve got a limited amount of time…

Tanata here is a major character that has yet to be seen in a released version of The Astrad. For those of you lurking since 1997, she’s the princess of a the kingdom of Allrusen, which was on the other side of the mountain pass my final “real” demo ended at. I’ve always liked women who could kick ass, and Tanata here does just that. She’s the only character in the game who lacks magical abilities, and plays the role of the tank and the physical damage powerhouse.

She is also black, which… has rarely been seen in sprite characters. Shockingly, I will be breaking from RPG tradition by not arbitrarily making my dark-skinned characters speak ebonics.

14 weeks, still suverting.

This is my fourteenth consecutive gruedorf entry, and I’m showing no signs of giving up this ghost. What would a gruedorf be without a grue, after all? As always, my revisions can be snatched and audited over at http://www.verge-rpg.com/svn/sots/. I’m almost finished settling into my new place in Mountain View, CA (home of teh google). So hopefully I’ll be kicking ass and taking names in short order.

Tragedy Due to Lethes.

Tragedy Due to Lethes.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

So, after doing a whole bunch of stuff (my first week at a new job in Silicon Valley, getting up during the morning every day, saving humanity from demon-alien nazis, etc etc) I started doing some minor fleshing-out work, adding some “local color” to one of the completed maps that won’t need major changes: Amaxis city. This whole idea of adding linear progress was Andy’s, as he has a variation on the time-vested:time-used formula I came up with many years ago to justify these endeavors.

Anyways, I converted a bunch of old sprites to v3 entities, and then scripted them out in the vc.

Then I loaded it up, it compiled fine, and as I walked into the town: whoops. I forgot that I broke my local maped3 weeks ago and haven’t fixed it yet.

If only I were a gangsta. Then I could feel good.

I totally need to do some swoll gruedorf next week in the form of repairing maped3 some. It’s obvious I’m corrupting my mapsaves in some minor, but annoying, way.

On the other side, please note I’m physically in California now, and this is the second post done via remote desktop into my computer in Austin TX. Locally it’s 11:47pm on Sunday, Dec 16th. I SO DO NOT LOSE. :D

…Ahem. Carry on.

Airport Edition.

Airport Edition.

The Alden Forest Map, in all of it's horrible glory.
Seriously, can that be any brighter?

Last week’s entry was only a bare minimum of an hour’s work, the lion’s share spent on properly reforming the sully SVN so I could work on a branch while keeping the trunk sane. Thes lesson there is that infrastructure work is worth noting, and worth doing… even if it ain’t flashy.

This week’s entry has a lesson in three parts:

  1. Using Remote Desktop Connection to develop is painfully slow.
  2. Some small amounts of work are a lot more satisfying than others
  3. Sometimes you just gotta throw old work out.

I’d explain further, but frankly I’m exhausted and my plane’s taking off in 10 minutes. The short story is that I was working on rehabilitating the old SotS forest maps until I decided that the map layout is incredibly terrible and cannot be reused. Map layouts are important to try and reuse since it takes far more time to make a decent map than it does a decent tileset. Unfortunatly, you’re really not saving any time if your map’s foundation is entirely indecent.

So there you go. Anyone paying attention might be wondering why I was doing superficial work this week after infrastructure last week. Well, I want to roll new ideas out with some homeboys in my new digs concerning the battle system, combined with the fact that I’ve been nearly swamped with moving across the nation and visting family this week. Nonetheless, I found time to work on the project.

After all… the alternative was losing.

Saga of the Sully?

Saga of the Sully?

Today’s update on the ongoing adventure of SotS’s creation takes us to The Sully Chronicles.

…What?

For about three years now I’ve been planning on basing the SotS Battle System off of the one that I’ve been working on for The Sully Chronicles.

Unfortunately, the Sully Chronicles battle system was 1) never completed and 2) is currently in a state of disgrace.

It’s got a lot in place… a real lot! But to cut a very long story short, it’s in need of quality assurance and some heavy refactoring before it’s really ready for public use.

o/~ It’s time to chaaaange o/~

So, it turns out I’m moving across the country next week and starting a new job with the awesome chaps over at IMVU.com. They’re an impressive bunch of engineers there, and pre-populated with such GCE community superstars as AegisKnight (creator of Sphere, Audiere, Corona, and umpteen million other things. Also probably your mom.), TheSpeedBump (creator of Ika), Kael (creator of Fury2), and verge’s own aen!

The pertinent matter to this post being the development techniques they use over at IMVU, and it’s effect upon the sully codebase. The problem with Sully at the moment are hard to track errors stemming from a lack of accountability within the code. Turns out that the boys, nay, men of IMVU are huge, huge, HUGE proponents of Test Driven Design. So… I’m planning on applying the techniques I’m going to have drummed into my head over the next few weeks to Sully so forward progress can be made again.

I’ll revise this post more shortly. Let me post this bitch so it doesn’t look like I lost first. >_>

Lookit teh pretty werks:

http://www.verge-rpg.com/svn/sully/ for the sully repository. Notice the nice, new trunk/branches dichotomy. Exciting, eh?

a hint of things to come!

a hint of things to come!

The Ontaran Caves, again, but with interesting variations.
The third ontaran cave map.
Now with less garish colors!

I wanted to keep what I was going for recently with SotS under my hat until it was fully finished. However, in the debate over implementing it the hard, but possible, way or the better, but needs-engine-work way, I chose to go the longer-to-implement route.

Confused yet? If you’ve played any of the 16-bit games I’ve played, it should be apparent from today’s screenshot what I’m adding into the game.

However, to properly pull this off requires a bit more than just obs, zones, and tile indexes… which is all of the in-script data we’ve had at our disposal so far. We’re going to need… metadata.

Luckily, I’m not the only one tinkering around with v3’s innards at the moment. Ioachim and Andy have both been hanging around #vergedev on lunarnet and we had a pleasant chat while maped3’s source was merged together. Now, this whole metadata adventure hasn’t yet started in earnest, but trust me and my leaky dev-blog hear: you’ll all be the first to know when it does.

The other thing I’m considering tinkering with is how verge, well… renders! As soon as I’ve got some more time (some big things going down in the gruelife atm), I’ll be spawning a new branch of v3 with the intent of adding a more programmer-friendly rendering system. Like adding non-entity sprites into the entity’s sorted rendering layer! And stuff. Maybe. I need to think about it all more.

Teh Gaem

Blah blah http://www.verge-rpg.com/svn/sots/ , blah blah SotS SVN.

Map Happy

Map Happy

Seriously, I don't understand my naming conventions either.
Fenslyd? Well, at least it’s google unique

I ended up doing far more than I was planning on today. It started off with my desire to show off the Alden Mountain range. This plan didn’t survive long because as I attempted over and over to convert the map, well, maped 3 just plain kept choking on it. verge3 can RUN the map, but I can’t really edit the zones to get it all workystuffs. Annoying!

Not insurMOUNTable…

Hey, look, it's me!
I’m so vain, I bet I think this
game is about me..

So, seeing as I was in a mountainy mood, I decided to convert and link up another mountain from later in the game: Fenslyd Holy Mountain. This is a level from around the 25% mark of the game, and the last dungeon before you get a boat. It’s got a few nice visuals and a whole lot of visually repetitive stone. This map’s gonna get a lot of work done to it over time. On the up-side, it’s short.

Also of note is that I’ve put in a commentary track of sorts as you climb it, just so there’s something more interesting for y’all than walking and going through doors.

Be sure to activate the events at the base of each of the two summits. The events are similar, but the one with the sword is a nice little moment, I think.

Addiction: It’s not pretty

I'm not explaining it if you don't know.
Onam, you card.

So, I ended up doing more than I was planning, like I said. Way more. Not featured in these screenshots are the cleaning jobs I did on alden castle. You shouldn’t notice the hud flicker caused by the bridge. Also the bridge will mostly work now, although something’s wrong with unsetting specialty obstructions, so when you walk under the bridge you may hit a small obs that you can walk around…

Anyways, you can also walk out of the castle, into the overworld, and into amaxis town. Just like most of the castle, the town is devoid of anything but art and music. How dull.

Subversive!

Also new this week is a Subversion repository at http://www.verge-rpg.com/svn/sots/. You all don’t have write access, but the public does have read access. I’m not sure if anyone really cares, but it’s there. Also, I’m willing to provide svn access to anyone who wants it for their gruedorf projects. Aren’t I a keen guy?

Enough shenanegans. Click here to download the fourth Gruedorf release of Saga of the Stars/The Astrad/Engelbert Humperdinck’s Wild Ride/etc etc etc. You’ll be glad you did… unless you won’t.

The Gruedorf Challenge begins.

Perceptive for a 15 year old.So one of the concepts I’ve been mulling over for the past… few years… is how big detailed maps aren’t awesome. They’re tedious to play through and slow down development. I’ve left in the old Castle Alden that’s never been used officially since it’s probably getting redone in about 1/8th the totaly area. At any rate, feel free to wander around the Aldencia Castle that never will be. Also, the observant will notice that this is running off of a Sully codebase with some very minor alterations (mainly to the textbox’s layout parameters), and with a few interesting additions to the new ./vc/sots/ directory. The underlying idea behind those files, should you look, is that there’ll be a “library” function where you can review any book you’ve read in-game in your menu, and see your book completion numbers for an area. It’s the little, stupid, things that make this fun for me.

The babyfaced prince gets even cuter… maybe

New onam vs old onam.One of the other simplification deals I’m running is a more Lufia 2 and/or Robotrek inspired character design. I’m still on the wall about this one because I don’t plan on remaking all of the tilesets, and because I still haven’t worked out a clean version of the animation that I’m pleased with. Here’s a look at the new vs old.

Excuses, excuses.

I’m going to be a little slow at first because I’m very interested in making some better dev tools than the ones at my disposal. I’m very interested in Ioachim’s platform agnostic maped, as well as other primitive web-based solutions. I’m also finishing up Breadbrother’s new website (not up as of this writing), so I won’t be dumping massive amounts of time into this challenge for a bit.

Oh, right…

Here’s the insanely delayed 4th SotS demo! Notice how it has less game than the third, the only interaction you have is with stairs, doors, and bookcases, and if you leave the castle it unceremoniously crashes! Enjoy!