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Monday, June 30, 2014

Seeking Musicians For Unicorn Quest

         With all the things being done soon I'll need to get in touch with some musicians. I'll get started on a sizzle reel style video that makes the game look good so I can send that video out to other blogs and things to announce Unicorn Quest's existence and seek help from music makers.

        I'm looking for something that sounds like Super Lesbian Horse RPG's soundtrack (found here) so I might as well contact the people that made that fan project first. I'm interested in the way they went about monetizing it and I want to do something similar. They released a soundtrack alongside their game on iTunes and Bandcamp and made a bit of cash.

       In exchange for them making the soundtrack for Unicorn Quest I will give the artists 100% of the OST profits and credit in the game (and basically everywhere else I mention the music). Now I just have to convince them to get on board! Should that fail, I have a friend at school who offered to help and I'm sure I can find other musicians somewhere on the net willing to help me.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Advertising Yotes Games on Facebook

     This was my very first time paying for an advertisement. It got me familiar with it's workings and I have a better grasp of what's going on now. My GoDaddy account net me a bunch of advertising credit on Google AdWords and Facebook so I decided to use it as a learning experience rather than risk having the coupons expire. This gives me a hint at what I'll be in for when I get an advertising budget.

Have a look at what I saw and what I learned below.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Status Report #44

     Things have been nutty all week and I'm still miles away from my work desk! Last week I finished up the text box in 2 days (instead of a week like I planned for) and spread out the posts this week to keep the site alive while I was away! I'll return home on Monday so there's still a couple of out of sync posts yet to go live. Even though I'm not working this week I need made an effort to post up to date downloads info below!

Here's a nice vacation week status report!

(Update: If you're seeing this, I was unable to get internet access where I am right now so there are no downloads charts this week. This is a backup post being put up on a timer. I'll update this on Tuesday with the charts up to that date.)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Finalized RPG Text Box System

I cannot express how proud I am of this thing.
     Dialogue boxes are officially tested and complete! I even got the little page indicator at the bottom to animate properly. All I have to do is attach a string of any length to an NPC and when you talk with it, the text box will make pages out of the string automatically! This breathes new life into the project and it looks more possible to do than ever! I seriously thought this would be the second hardest thing to make for the game and it took about as long as anything else! Only the hardest part remains, crafting a cutscene maker, but that's still far off.

I just have to make up words to toss at it and the box handles the rest!
     After some test runs I decided that letters appearing one at a time, even if it's fast, looks pretty bad in Unicorn Quest. So I made whole pages appear at once and it looks a lot better. It also makes things easier for fast readers like me who tend to mash through dialogue in Pokemon games. I even chose to use "@" as the page break so I can make better use of timing/spacing for information.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Changing Camera's Smooth Follow Target

     For all of Unity's great features, this drawback is a surprising one. I couldn't for the life of me to get SmoothFlow2D to change it's target the way a Component should. This means the camera will have to always be on the player character in that scene. There are ways around this and they can get pretty complicated. For the sake of time I needed a quick solution. As I started writing this post an idea came to me. Have the camera focus on an invisible object that happens to be on the player, then when I want focus to change, move the object somewhere else!

     I wanted the camera to focus on whomever was talking. The results will look the same with this method so problem solved! I really wish Unity's camera worked the way I wanted it to, but I guess this proves that there's always a way if you smash your head into it long enough. It feels like I leveled up my problem solving skills or something because Yotes from a year ago would have either researched how to get SmoothFollow to work for a week or take spend days on making a new camera following script.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Unicorn Chatterbox Lines

     I rejoice as this part is finally finished. Text scrolls across the screen one letter at a time and moves to the next line when the collider reaches the edge. The games main GUI hides when text boxes come up and I placed a giant blocker collider behind the background sprite that prevents the buttons from working if you tap where they once were.

     Next steps are pretty big. I need a way to keep track of pages for when NPCs yammer on for longer than one box can handle. I have to make little icons to let the player know what's going on, have colliders to detect player touch to continue to the next page, and I need to have the camera position itself in a way that puts the speaking pony slightly above the middle of the screen.

     After all that I'll be in pretty good shape! Almost done with this thing once and for all!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Actually Coding The Text Box System

     After figuring out how to do highlighting and new lines, all that's left is to start coding. I quickly scribbled and drafted ways to make it work on paper and now I'm going to implement it in C# and see how big the mess will be. If I'm lucky, then I'm just about done with this thing...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Arranging App Icons Atop Yotes Games

     You might have noticed how often I switch up how the app icons on the blog appear by now. I think I've finally settled on a good way to handle their ordering. Their original purpose was to display the apps I had in the pipeline. Now it's more of a list of the apps I've made so far. Right now I'm thinking that it's a good idea to keep it at an even 8. It represents the 8 games I made in college that got my career started. As time goes on I'll keep my 7 most popular apps listed here in order of release and save the last slot for the current work in progress.

     Either that or I'll have an odd number of apps more tightly packed together with the WIP in the middle. nine apps on display total? The biggest ones closest to the middle? We'll see how it all looks when I have more games under my belt to show. I'm far from done messing with these things.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Making New Text Lines Work

    I'm onto something here. To make the text lines know when they reached the edge, I can have 2 box colliders waiting to signal when overlapping. One stays on the edge where words should never pass, the other is at where the first word appears and increases its width by 3 every time a new letter appears. Because the boxes are centered in the middle, I have to make sure only the right side of the box is the one detecting anything and let the left side go off screen.

    This is much easier than the letter-by-letter or one word at a time methods I was trying to force earlier.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Status Report #43

     Creations were made and the game is feeling more real by the week. I'm getting a much better sense of what the full game will feel like months from now. With Unicorn Quest hitting this pseudo-milestone it's a good time to take a week off to visit my girlfriend and recharge my batteries for the rest of the summer. Catch up on what's going down in game development after the break.

(Update: This status report was accidentally deleted JUST as I was about to post it and I don't remember everything I typed word-for-word so please excuse the mess of a post this week.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Treasure Chest Animations In Equica

     You know what I'm talking about. When you go up to a chest in A Link to the Past and hold up an item while fanfare plays. I want that in Unicorn Quest. It just feels good! I had the chest sprites made and I even got the spinning white action bubble from my Feed The Plant trophy screen to emphasize the item being held up. Clover will open a chest with a chest icon over the action button, then face the camera and hold up the prize for all to see! Trust me, it'll be adorable.

     I got all the code and art for this done and just need to finish the textbox system to have a way of telling players what the item is and making the prompt disappear.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Colored, Bold, Etc. Text Made Easy!

     Did you know about this? Well I didn't! Apparently Unity isn't done surprising me with it's ease of use! I finally learned what the Rich Text check box does and boy does it make my life easier. Here I was about to code up a system similar to HTML's text modifiers and as I'm googling to see if someone else has already invented that wheel I stumble across this! Unity had that stuff in it all along! Just add "<b>words here</b>" or something similar for fantastic results!

     Now I can highlight words mid-sentence with no trouble! I'm not even limited to certain colors or sizes either. It basically works like HTML. I can probably do varied word sizes too which would allow me to fill the text box with screams of "NOOO!!!" if I want to. All this stuff is really great and further proves to me that I still have a world's worth of knowledge to learn.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Choosing A Pixel RPG Font

Here's how the textbox looks so far.
      I'm searching for just the right font for this game's pixel art style. I chose Myraid Web Pro Bold first because it looked best from my options in MS Paint. After looking at other RPGs and this game's style as a whole I'm thinking about changing all the fonts to a pixelated one of some kind. I'm considering the font on the 4th row in the picture above, 8BitOperator. It comes with lowercase letters, it squeezes characters together for more space, and its punctuation marks are equal in size to capital letters.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What I Want In A Text Box

       I need an efficient speech bubble system like you see in tons of RPGs for my games. Unfortunately there are not many templates for one floating out there (either that or I can't find them) so I need to make one for myself. I need to make something that separates text into 3 or 4 lines, allows for color coded words like you see above, and automatically extend the number of pages based on how many lines of text are required. I'd also like it to spit out each character one at a time with a beep matching either a male, female, really high, or really low pitch.

      I'm skipping out on certain things that seem really difficult to pull of for the time being like shaking letters, bold & italics, changing fonts, auto language adjustments, and varied font size. If I do this properly, I may be able to add those features in as I get better at this whole game development thing (or meet someone who's good at it and wants to work with me).

       It'll take up a large chunk of time but this is worth the effort. I can reuse and refine this textbox system for use in the absurd amount of games in my mind. I better be careful now to make a strong and cleanly coded foundation or else I risk making a mess for myself and any people I decide to work with.

Monday, June 16, 2014

New OBS Video Recording Software

     After putting out a call for help on the development video side of things my buddy Cybermagus showed me Open Broadcaster Software. It's an open source tool made for livestreams and Let's Plays and it works like a dream! It records just the computer audio and ignores the mic input just like I wanted and comes with an adjustable screen resolution and window size adjuster. In addition there' tons of customizable options that will let me do much nicer development videos and even game trailers in the future!

    See a Recording Test Video I made for it on YouTube!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

E3 2014 is Over... Back To Work!

     E3 was a rejuvenating experience. I feel proud to be a game developer and want to push myself to reach a point where something I made can stand tall next to other games at the convention. With it behind me, it's time to get back to work and there's plenty to do. This week will be all about making stuff I need to be ready for making a text box system through next week. I need an NPC, a treasure chest you can interact with (don't worry about saving it's state just yet), and writing down exactly how the speech system will work on paper before coding anything. Let's see what I can accomplish by tomorrow...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Status Report #42

I knew next to nothing would get done all week.
     Talk about an unproductive week. Nearly nothing got done but come on, E3. I was busy connecting to the rest of the gaming world and taking in the whole show. Things should ease back into work mode starting today. I still have a whole text box/speech system to figure out.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Unicorn Quick-Access Items

     Here is what all the items look like in your inventory. It's setup so that you tap on an icon and the cursor moves there. Tap again and you will use the item. If it goes down to zero the icon disappears completely and the button does nothing. Every item will always be in the same slot and you'll see the inventory fill up as you collect all these things. For easy access you can put items in a 4 slot box by selecting an item in inventory then moving the cursor to one of the 4 slots and finally tapping the quick slot again.

     You can also swap quick slot items by assigning an item already in another slot. When you do that, it sends its contents to the other slot, even if empty so there are no item duplication glitches to worry about. Having items available at a glance can be helpful in battle and the overworld. Just touch the arrow above the magic bar at any time to bring up your four chosen items for use. You activate them the way you would in the pause menu. Tap once to move cursor, tap again to use.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Equip Items Menu in Equica

     The menus are looking sharp and I came up with description for each equippable item that fits on the two lines of text. Staring at this makes me wish I stuck with a uniform sprite scale the whole way through. The way it's setup now, I need every single bit of space available and there is meant to be a variety of scaled pixel art to give the action a smoothly animated look. I'll keep a gameboy advance style pixel resolution in mind for my next game.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Gushing About: Game Dev Story

     This here is a fun little app that taught me a thing or two about what it's like running a game company. You start small and grow big, you have setbacks and unexpected booms, you choose how to spend hard earned money, you see your work compared to others, you keep up with popular platforms, and you face difficult human situations like replacing a friend with someone who can help the company thrive.

       It's the simulation of the  blood, sweat, and tears that goes  into game development. This is Game Dev Story.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Nintendo's 2014 Press Conference (No Work Is Being Done)

     Yesterday was great and I can't wait to see what surprises Nintendo has waiting this year! Be sure to tune in yourself. You can still expect a new Gushing About post tomorrow.

Monday, June 9, 2014

E3 Starts Today!

What the heck are you doing here!? E3 starts today! Go find a livestream!!
Or if you're new, I have tons of old posts of good stuff.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Unicorn Quest's Common Enemies

     These are the grunts you'll be fighting the most often. You can fight off a lot of other baddies too, but these are the small guys that big guys can spit out. Save for a special few, these enemies don't have health based on points but are just defeated by being hit a certain way.

See descriptions for each common baddie below.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Status Report #41

     At this rate, I plan on having all the major pieces working around July 13th. If I  take a week off to visit my girlfriend that gives me 4 weeks to make all the pieces work together in a basic alpha of Unicorn Quest before school starts. That's exactly where I want to be. When school comes around and throws my schedule off, I want to only have minor things left to do. Things like tweaking enemies, storyline changes, bug fixes. I want an alpha by late August. That way, I can start recruiting testers...

Friday, June 6, 2014

Finished Unicorn Quest Item Sprites

      A lot of distractions and favors kept me busy yesterday so not much work got done. I managed to do all this though.

      With all these sprites done I can start coding them now. I'll spend today getting each one to work in-game. There's cupcakes, tonics, rings, pendants, and horseshoes. The latter three are all equips you can put on to power up Clover in some way. Horseshoes affect health and speed, rings affect your magic, and pendants affect your luck. I'll put chests in the overworld and test out taking items out of them. I'll even try to do a think where Clover holds up what's inside like Link.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Making Item Sprites

    I've been chipping away at these things all day. I still have a bunch more to go (pendants & horseshoes) so fun's not over yet. Cupcakes heal health and status effects while tonics restore or boost magic. There's also some Zelda style chests for players to plunder. Each sprite does something different and match an item in the design document. With these all ready, I'll start coding the item system next.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mobile Gaming Class Project Switch

     I woke up this morning and realized something pretty big. If I can get Unicorn Quest done by December, I'l be able to start my next RPG in the Spring 2015 semester. That's when I plan on taking my Mobile Game Development course. After talking with the professor of the class I found out that we are allowed to develop our games with Unity and even sell those projects on app stores with absolute ownership.

    Instead of making the platformer game I had in mind, I can work towards a working battle engine for my turn-based pony RPG. I can turn in a PvP focused version of the game for a grade and work on the story mode and balancing all of next summer. This is much more exciting for me than forcing myself to make a platformer when I'm clearly dying to start this RPG. Either I'll make the platformer later, or put it on my list of skipped projects.

     This switch has got me thinking about all the extra help I can get from the school by putting those resources to use in a project I'm feverishly passionate about. I'll be forced to do presentations for a grade and I'll be demonstrating the game at open house events. I'll get to show the game off at the next BYOC and I can do follow-up research on it for my Game Analysis course (and it's presentations) the semester afterwards. The more I think about it, the better it sounds.

    With all that to look forward to, it's important to go back to putting everything I've got into my current labor of love: Unicorn Quest. My next few games depend on the foundation I build with this one.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Equica Overworld ~ From Scene to Shining Scene

     Travel between rooms in Unicorn Quest is pretty straightforward. Each door is labeled with a number that matches the door at which Clover will appear when the next scene loads. Doors are colliders on the ground that take you to the loading scene when touched. The loading screen only exists to cover up any lag that would happen if the game chugs on destroying the current scene prefab and bringing up another.

      My Door Script allows me to edit which door leads to where. Even allowing me to change in-game for any maze puzzles I come up with. This will even allow me to use the same room multiple times (like the lost forest in Zelda) which is exactly what the room above is going to be like. Door A in one room leads to door A in another room while behind the scenes a Global tracker is matching hidden numbers with region names to know which room to pull up.

      Consider this major component of the game completed.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Audio, Not My Favorite

Adding sound really makes the game world feel three dimensional.
It's just that making it all is kinda tedious.
     I'm learning more about myself all the time. I now have a deeper understanding of exactly how much I don't like working on audio. When I'm searching for the right combination of bleeps & bloops with Bfxr, I don't feel the same passionate force I do when I'm drawing sprites or writing code. I'd honestly rather just have all the sounds available to me so I can just place them where they need to be. Editing things until they sound right then editing them again in Audacity feels like a lot harder for me than it really is.

    It's just my weakness presenting itself. There's no way I can handle audio on my own far into the future. Hopefully as this project comes to an end, I'll have someone willing to cover sound on board and I'll actually have money to pay for the help.

    Anyway, all of the sounds and music for stuff in the current build is in place. Back to adding features now.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Starting Unicorn Quest Audio

     Using tactics mentioned in other audio posts, I've been chipping away at the tunes and sounds of Equica. I want to do a combination of realistic sounds and 8 bit sounds in an interesting way. If you shoot a fireball you'll hear cackling flames and the initial whoosh but you'll also hear an 8-bit explosion as the fireball comes out and when it hits a wall. Hard to explain, easy to hear.

    As far as the music goes though, there's placeholders from other games for now. I'll try to match the mood I'm going for so that later on, when the game looks way more impressive, I can show it to people who may be interested in my grand plans for releasing the soundtrack separately from the game and splitting the revenue between all the music creators like this team did.

     So for I have one guy on music but I might be able to get extra help when the game looks more complete and word spreads. I'd like to find people I can work with during future projects. If I can get off the ground now, I can start simply hiring or contracting folks when I make Yotes Games a company.