Time to make some walls for Tai Ming's arcade mode!
So, after returning from a couple days on the mainland thinking about other things for a while, I had an idea about changing some things on the blog!

First, it seems like a lot of you enjoy the posts where I talk a bit more in depth on our design decisions and what we're currently working on, so I thought I'd make every Monday a "Monday Meeting" post. We don't really have meetings every week, but we do often end up having a bunch of design talks and so I thought it'd be interesting to go over our latest design changes and decisions in a weekly post.

This would also serve as a kind of "update" or summary on what we're doing right now and what will be done in the very near future. Sounds good?

Next, I know you all wanna see more stuff Teddy and Fred are doing, so I'm thinking every Friday should be "Fred's Friday", where I'll post a bunch of the animations he's been working on and explaining what they are for. If Fred feels like it, he can write some stuff about it himself, or do step-by-steps or whatever he'd come up with.

I'll also try to include more of the stuff Fred and Teddy are working on in the posts in between, which means they should become a bit meatier. I'm also thinking that instead of saving up a bunch of small things for "Mixed Bag" posts, I'll just mash them into the regular posts, meaning posts will more often cover more than one subject!


Without further ado, let's talk about what we're currently working on: Housing!

Our basic prototype is more or less done: the items that have been made so far have all been implemented, and most of the ones that will move in some way have their proper animations. Teddy is currently working on two things, the light settings (which are coming along rather nicely so far), and the rather complicated systems behind being able to add more rooms and change the layout of your house.

You see, previously we decided that you'd be able to select between a bunch of pre-designed layouts for your house, which could be unlocked at the proper salesman or through your housing menu (not fully decided). As our conversation went on, though, we started thinking it'd be really cool if you could design your house however you wanted, adding new rooms and change their sizes freely.

Before we fully commit to that can of worms, our current goal is to upload what we have to Frontline (once it's been polished a little bit more) and let you guys try it out. We're still a little torn between having pre-designed layouts or having you design the house more freely, as the latter definitely would add a ton more work and I'm sure most of you would like to see the game finished sooner rather than later.

So for now, we'll upload what we have: a single layout, and the current housing items. The shop and house will be placeholder, with more finalized look for each of them coming later on, as we'll use the Arcadia redesign versions as a base for the story mode versions after they're finished.

With your feedback we hope to be able to gauge how much more work (and polish!) will be needed before the housing system can truly be complete, and as such will give us a better idea of which of our options to pick.

There's also a third option here, where if people are satisfied with the basic version of the house, we might just stay off multiple layouts altogether as that would save a lot of time and would mean we could add the proper housing system much sooner. Anyway, your feedback will decide! Stay tuned for that :)


The rest of the week I've planned to take a look at some much-needed Housing icons that illustrate what tool you're currently using, some more Tai Ming Arcade stuff (a variety of walls!) and another portrait. See you tomorrow! :)

We've had multiple discussions regarding table cloths and how to apply them to various tables. Finally, we've come to a decision!

Sometimes, it's easy to forget that being a gamedev involves more than simply making games and managing the community surrounding it. Today (when this gets posted, a while ago) we had our "annual meeting", which is a formal thing we need to do to review the year and how the company has fared through it.
Some time has passed since we started the poll regarding which of the Tai Ming Arcade floor designs you'd prefer - backtrack through time or random time jumps. At the moment of writing this, it seems you guys are as divided as we are, so for the time being we're leaning slightly towards the backtracking idea.

This means each of the rooms have to be made available in both a past and a present version. And speaking of the floor visuals, how would we even go about designing an Arcade floor of an area that's more of a town than any of the previous areas you've progressed through?

To sort this out, I had a long meeting with Teddy where we sketched and discussed the various ways we could handle this.

In conclusion, we've decided to make the floors in a very different way compared to the others. For the other floors, each room background is either very designed by me, with variations to give the user an impression of there being more rooms than there actually is (Flying Fortress, Mount Bloom etc), or they are fully generated by the engine that puts a bunch of trees in a circle on top of a basic background (Evergrind Fields, Seasonne, etc). For Tai Ming, we're going to do a mix of the two.

We decided that each outdoor room of Tai Ming will consist of a plain grass background, upon which we'll put various things that will serve to block the screen so that you can't move further than the square where you'll be fighting. These things will include various fences, mountain walls, streams of water and houses, either ones you will enter or closed ones that will only serve to block your way forward.

Each of these items will be generated into the game by the engine, but they will have to be handmade by me to fit into each situation. For instance, there needs to be a way for a horizontal and vertical fence/stream/mountain wall to connect, and they need to be able to work with each other - a fence must be able to connect to the mountain wall, for instance.

To make these floors coherent we'll frame them with the mountain, meaning the the bottom, far right/left and topmost floors will have a corresponding mountain wall - it will be in the upper parts of the topmost floors, signifying that you cannot go further north than this. We believe this will give the floors a sense of you progressing through Tai Ming much like it works in Story Mode, you're passing through a town that's inside the mountain. Because there's a lot of water in Tai Ming's second zone and we thought it would make the rooms a more interesting look, there will be streams here and there that you can pass over (in some rooms) by bridges, that will also be made by me but generated into the game by the engine as it creates each floor.

So basically, instead of painting whole rooms, I will spend a lot of time making and piecing together many, many small parts, that need to work both on their own and be able to connect with others as they get generated by the game!

As for the indoor rooms, they will (for now) be single room living areas in a bunch of variations, but with entrances and exits in the same place: if you enter a house from the south you'll exit it in the north, and if you enter a house from the right you'll exit it to the left. Since we've already dealing with quite complex backgrounds we thought we'd keep the indoor houses simple. This way we don't have to make a ton of variations of the house sprites (the outodoor ones) that would have to look different if the house is L-shaped or longer than one room. Now we can focus on giving each of the exits variations through color and design rather than the shape, which would also end up affecting the other pieces made for the outdoor areas.

Creating these floors properly will definitely be a challenge, and more on the technical side than what we normally do, but we believe this will make these floors look the best they can. Our other options would be to make a ton of pre-rendered rooms (a bunch with the mountain wall to the bottom, a bunch with the wall to the left, etc) or lose the coherency of where the mountain floors and walls connect, and we all agree that just wouldn't be as nice.

In other words, expect a post or two full with tiny parts and ways of connecting them! ;)

And now, for the last post this week before we head to Stockholm to celebrate Teddy, another of those desert town portraits! As I mentioned before, gotta start early and all, right?

Those of you not wanting to know what things will unlock where in the new version of Arcadia should probably steer clear of this post!
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