Getting Back to Myself

I honestly don’t know what I am trying to say so please bare with me. This is my fifth time writing this post. Talking about these kinds of things can be hard and with this post I’d hope to normalize it. Mental health is important and shouldn’t be something you overlook like I have for most of my life. Most of my life has been pretty aimless, but it was five years ago that I decided I wanted to be a game designer. It took losing everything then to get my head where it needed to be, but then more life happened.

Fast forward a bit and I’ve put my dreams on hold to help my fiance through grad school. It was a simple decision because she has been my ride or die for most of my adult life. As of two months ago, she now has her masters and I can finally do game design full time, but the moment I didn’t have to focus on helping someone else and I stopped working my day job my mind decided to shift all its attention to the many traumas I’ve faced during my life that I’ve never even thought to resolve.

It reached a breaking point last month as major depression came over me. It’s a strange feeling being glued to your bed all day and not wanting to do a thing knowing damn well stuff needed to be done. Not eating despite your body telling you to. It’s no joke and I wouldn’t wish something like that on my worst enemy. Thanks to my fiance I wouldn’t be like that for long. I realized that only I was in control of myself and my own fate. My traumas are something I will have to deal with but they don’t define me nor do they make me less worthy.

Getting out of that funk was difficult and I don’t plan on going back. To that effect, I have started taking steps to ensure that won’t happen such as leaving social media and stop being concerned about whether I deserve to be a game designer. I realize I create to offset the destruction I’ve endured. It is what makes me happy and it doesn’t matter if no one thinks I can do it because I am anyway.

I apologize if I seemed all over the place with this post. It is just something I wanted to get off my chest. I am fine now and I am still working on Force Defender Operation. I also won’t be doing game jams or other similar events. I’ve always had fun with those events, but I feel I’ve hit a limit to my skills so I want to focus on something long term.  Not sure if that will be Force Defender, but I’m taking time to give it some thought. Anyway, the purpose of this post is simply take care of yourself before you wreck yourself. You are the only self you got. 

FDO Devlog #3 – Raycast Woes

Before I begin I want to mention that I will no longer be doing 21 Days of VGM or Inktober (or whatever the pixel art version of it is). I’ve decided that I need to focus on my game design and development. I’ve even removed the requirement that I have to do this every two days. I’ll still try to do a blog post every two days, but I’ll be doing a more informal post on my personal Twitter page (@AsixJin). Just wanted to keep everyone posted, but enough with that and on to business.

More pictures of my white board

The last post I spoke about doing some movement code. Well, I spent a good amount of time reworking that code so it was easier to read and use. Organizing code is very therapeutic if you need a reason to do such a thing. I threw on some lo-fi hip-hop and clean that move code right on up.

Once I was satisfied with the movement I moved straight to attacks. I wanted to start with something simple. I decided to start with something that was like Mega Man’s buster. I thought the best way to handle this was with raycast. This would be my first time using raycast and it was a learning experience.

It took me a few days to get the raycast to work how I intended and this was probably due to how the positions work in Godot and some confusing tutorials. I plan to carve some time out to fully understand raycast in general and from Godot’s standpoint so I don’t have to spend so much time on them. Regardless I got a basic attack working so I’ll try to get some controls done for the player next.

FDO Devlog #2

Been working on getting the movement figured out for the actors. I basically did some research and broke down the way enemies move in Mega Man Battle Network. After I got my notes together I distilled the movement patterns into three basic commands I could give my actors. For example, I can give my actors a line movement command and that will have them move horizontally or vertically across one line.

Getting the code in was a bit tricky. Getting this working the way I wanted required me to learn a bit more about Godot and what it could do. The pseudo-code I wrote assisted greatly especially when my actual code fell apart. I eventually got one of the movement commands in that allows for simple single panel movement. I’ll have to take some time to get my code in order, but I am glad it turned out well.

FDO Devlog #1

Welcome to the first Devtober post of the month. This month I’ll be posting about the progress I am making on my new project, Force Defender Operation. These post won’t be as long as my usual stuff, but a just quick overview of what I’ve done over the last few days.

Force Defender Operation is basically a mobile rendition of my second game, Force Defender. You can also think of it like a mobile Battle Network. I spent most of the weekend setting up Godot 3 for Android and setting up the project. I also spent a good chunk of time deciding on the resolution I wanted to presented the game at. I went for a 16:9 ration at a portrait orientation, which I decided by putting together a little arena. Now I will probably work on getting the actors setup. Check out the next devtober post to see how it goes.

October Triple Threat!

October is finally upon us and it’s time to get to work. If you’ve been keeping up you probably know about what’s going down this month. I’ll be doing the 21 Days of VGM Challenge in an effort to further improve my composition skills. Along with that, I will also be alternating between Inktober, where I will be improving my pixel art skills and Devtober, where I will be posting regular updates about my next project. It is sure to be an action-packed month for sure. Be sure to keep an eye out on my social media and my website over the month. 

As a bonus to all the things happening this month, I have recorded a demonstration for Scrippler, my new dialog editor. If you wanted to learn more about it then be sure to watch that video.

Remember if you enjoy anything I’ve been doing let me know. I enjoy hearing from people who have taken the time to check me out. Also we have launched out Patreon and Ko-Fi page if you want to support Asentrix Studios and the things we do. Thank you and can’t wait to show you all what I got!

Introducing Scrippler

Now that LRGBIC is behind us what’s next for Asentrix Studios? What’s next is all the stuff planned for October! In October we’ll be doing Inktober and Devtober and that’s not all. It seems 21 Days of VGM challenge has come back and we are taking up the challenge once more. October is gonna be a big one, but that’s not what I am here to talk about today. I want to introduce another project of ours, Scrippler, the web-based node dialog editor.

My goal for Scrippler is to have an easy way to add dialog to your game. You can write out the dialog in Scrippler and export the script into game-ready JSON. Scrippler is still in its early stages and is still rough around the edges, but with it, you can put together a script and export easy to read JSON. You can even use it right now by using the new link on the menu at the top of the site. I have been really excited to talk about Scrippler with you all and I finally can. I hope I can make it into the tool I wanted and the tool everyone else needs.

One more announcement before I let you all go, but if you want to support Scrippler or anything else Asentrix Studios does you can now do so via our new Patreon. If a single donation is more your speed we also have a Ko-Fi page. We appreciate any help and with it, we can do better and greater things. Anyway, I hope to see you around for October because it’s gonna be a big one! Til next time!

LRGBIC Devlog #9 – Finishing Touches

This has been quite the month hasn’t it? At the very beginning I was just following Fornclake’s Zelda Godot tutorials which lead me to releasing the prologue just two weeks ago. Now we are at the beginning of September closing in on the Silver Rule’s release. It’s been quite the journey doing these two jams and now all we have left are the finishing touches!

Once I finished putting together the dungeon, I decided that it needed a bit of life. The dungeon was pretty dark and bland so I figure adding some music and sound would solve this issue. I jumped in LMMS and cobbled together a track that I felt served nicely for navigating the Silver Rule dungeon. The original song I was composing for the dungeon ended up being the music for the title screen. I’ve put both songs in this post for your listening pleasure. Give them a listen and tell me what you think.

In the middle of doing the songs for the dungeon and title screen, I also used LMMS’s SFXR instrument plugin to generate some sound effects. This was probably the most fun I had this week. SFXR can generate all sort of sound effects for a specific purpose like pickups or it can just give you some strange completely random sound. While it won’t appear in the final game you can listen to the most interesting sound I got. After it was all said and done I had all the audio I needed and Silver Rule felt more lively…If that’s even the right word to describe it.

After getting the sound the way I wanted I decided to work on some of the dialog for the game. I wasn’t going to add dialog to the final game, but I felt it might be weird since the prologue had some plus I think people enjoyed the dialog I wrote. I used Talkit to write the script which exports JSON that I use in Godot. To be honest, the dialog in Silver Rule is a test of sorts for some software that I am working on that derives from Talkit. It’s heavily attached to my next project so you’ll hear more about that in the future.

Now that we have some sound and dialog Silver Rule feels more like an experience instead of something for players just run through. At least I hope players will have some sort of experience. Regardless, I have had a blast making Silver Rule and it’s prologue. I hope you and everyone else out there enjoys it when I release it tomorrow. That’s right! You can play Silver Rule is almost 24 hours. Our last devlog will be sometime after which will also serve as the post mortem. 

LRGBIC Devlog #8 – The Fuego Fuegi

On the last devlog we went over the dungeon that Ace will have to conquer to get the Silver Rule. If you remember, I started that off by mentioning some of the improvements I’ve made to the game. I mentioned the revamped magic, the reworked enemies, and the new enemy. That new enemy is excatly what I am here to discuss!

The fuegi was planned to be the third monster in the prologue, but I held him back after I ran out of time. I put together a nice little sprite and gave him the ability to change his element on the fly. After some thought, I decided to give this ability to the rambie. I wanted the fuegi to have less of a passive ability and present himself as more of a problem.

Introducing the Fuego Fuegi

With the rambie taking the fuegi’s original ability, I couldn’t come up with anything interesting to give the fuegi. It was at this point I decided to leave the poor little fuegi out of the prologue. All said and done, this worked out great. It gave me time to really figure out what kind of challenge I wanted the fuegi to give Ace on his quest for the Silver Rule.

Now what can the fuegi do you might be asking? His main objective is guarding the last door to the Silver Rule. I’ve made the fuegi the final challenge the player will face. He combines several aspects of the dungeon to cause issues for Ace and I can’t wait to see how players handle it.  Well that wraps it up for this devlog! We are coming close to release so I hope you are ready!

LRGBIC Devlog #7 – Puzzles and Traps. Oh My!

How’s it going, everyone? We are fast at work on the second phase of LRGBIC and on the last devlog, we went over the feedback I received for the first phase. It seems Ace has received some additional training from Silus and his magic skills have been upgraded. He will need them too because the baddies have been reworked as well. There will even be a new vermin joining the crew to give Ace some trouble in the dungeon, but I don’t want to talk about the vermin. I’m here to talk about the dungeon itself.

If you remember, Silver Rule is all about Ace obtaining the Silver Rule from a dungeon. The prologue took place outside in a nice grassy field mainly because I ran out of time to implement the actual dungeon itself. The feedback I received from the prologue shows this was a good idea. It allowed me to focus on what’s wrong with Ace, his magic, and the monster. With this in mind, I made sure the dungeon itself worked around the improvements.

The First Room of the Dungeon

When I started to design the dungeon I knew I’d want it to be straightforward and simple. I quickly decided that I’d have four types of obstacles that would show up two to three times. This could allow for variety while keeping everything simple. The four types of rooms Ace will come across are monster, spike, puzzle, and empty types.

The monster rooms will be where Ace will have to face waves of enemies before proceeding, similar to the prologue. The puzzle rooms will test Ace’s wits before allowing passage. The empty room type covers rooms like the entrance or the Silver Rule’s resting place where nothing interesting happens. The spike rooms are a secret that you will have to uncover on your own. As you can see each room allows a bit variance so they can show up a couple of times over the course of the dungeon.

The Legendary Silver Rule!

I honestly had a lot of fun putting this dungeon together and I hope everyone enjoys conquering it to help Ace get the Silver Rule. That’s basically all I wanted to share this time, but we are coming close to the end of LRGBIC so expect a couple more devlogs before the AGBIC release. Next will be going over the Fuegi, Ace’s new adversary in the Silver Rule dungeon.

LRGBIC Devlog #6 – Can We Fix It? I Hope So!

It has been awhile since the last time I saw you all! I decided to get some rest after the release of the prologue and it did me some good. I was able to let the prologue settle in the wild and get some much needed feedback. Pretty much everything I evaluated about the game during release was echoed by my players. I want to go over the issues and how I hope to fix them.

After compiling the few reviews I got for the prologue I figured my issues came down to two things. On one hand, the enemies were too quick fro players to react to in such a small space. Almost everyone commented on this and I have to agree. For instance, the spiders could blindside you coming onto the screen and get three clean hits in. One way to address this problem is to slow down the enemies and another way is to give the players more ghost frames. Mostly I have to take into account that this game is only 64 by 64 pixels.

The other issues were with the magic skills. Most of the magic Ace could use, no matter the level, was useless. The fire stab was too risky and the ice shot’s distance was too short. I don’t even think anybody used the shock burst which suffered from range issues. With this information, I decided to just revamp the magic system completely. For instance, I think it would be nice if the level three skills were super versions of said skills.

I think most people enjoyed Silver Rule: Prologue and I’m glad it was received well. Most people really enjoyed the mini-game to restore your mental level and the backstory. I think there is something within the Silver Rule and hopefully, I can buff out the dents and make it into something. Until the next devlog my friends.