Devlog July 2019


Hello everyone, here’s news from the front.

Only a month apart since the last devlog? What’s happening?

I hope you do not suffer too much from the heat wave. Here it is hot and humid, but that did not stop me from creating levels.

Version 0.4 completed

As announced in the last devlog, my goal was to complete a first version of all levels. It’s done! It was not easy, and some levels were harder to complete than expected, but now I have 14 playable and interesting levels.

Compared to the 12 that I announced last month, I reworked some of them a lot, removed some, and added new ones.

Given the already large number of levels, I decided not to make some levels I had planned, although I had plenty of cool ideas for them, to try to keep the amount of work in something doable. I prefer to focus on fewer levels so that they are all interesting; the quality before the quantity. Do not worry, the game is already long enough like that.

I want to thank Aurélie who has played all levels and allowed me to identify what works and what does not, and to find bugs.

Current state of the game

Overall the game is already fun and the levels already well advanced. The concept is well defined and original. There are plenty of traps that are fun to avoid, the levels are varied and enjoyable to explore.

I still think that I do not use enough the unique mechanics of the game, and that it could be much more fun. The game sometimes lacks rhythm, and the difficulty is not well balanced.

Also, the game unfortunately still contains a lot of bugs, mostly minor ones, but 1 or 2 important ones. Correcting all of them is a priority.

Finally, I would like to further refine the gaming experience. I need to improve and correct some details to better match what I have in mind.

Roadmap

I will work on all these issues, gradually iterating on all levels.

For version 0.5, I will focus my efforts on the first 4 levels, to improve level design, gameplay, experience, fix bugs, and to improve all basic content (menus, sounds, saving progress, etc.). These levels are particularly important because they influence the desire to continue playing the game. They are approximately the first hour of play. I will do several iterations on them.

Ideally, I would like with this version 0.5 to make a “demo” a little more “pro” than usual, especially compared to the polishing (interfaces, menus, bugs …) and maybe to do some playtests with more people than usual, to get more feedback and find more bugs.

In the following versions I will gradually integrate other levels, and more narrative content.

See you soon,

Arnaud


Devlog June 2019


Hello everyone, here’s news from the front.

Again, a lot of time has passed since my last devlog. I will rename these “monthly newsletter” in biannuals, it will be more realistic.

After months of April and May a little less productive because of moving / travel / holidays, here I am again on the track to finish this game!

Designing the Game Experience

Thanks to the many prototypes and playtests that I made at the beginning of the year, I was able to validate the trapped dungeons exploration concept. After these few weeks of rapid prototyping, it was time to start thinking a little more seriously about the concept and the game experience.

At first, I created new levels and made other playtests. I made levels of different types, sizes, structures, rhythms, changed various aspects of the gameplay, to better understand what the players liked. I tested the idea of ​​having “themes” in the levels, to see what it brought. I also took advantage of these playtests to test and correct many aspects of the game, including interactions, inventory, character controls, and other miscellaneous bugs.

Most of the playtests were very positive. The testers had fun and I saw better and better what made this game a unique and promising concept. I also heard several times “this is my last level” and have seen the tester continue “a bit more to see” and finally end up doing one or two more levels. These moments were particularly encouraging :)

I would like to thank Aurélie, Laurent, Jonathan, Eric, Kenneth, Christophe, Philippe, Grégoire, Michaël, Cédric, Benjamin, Romain and Maxime, for having tested the game, sometimes several times, and for their numerous returns which allowed me to improve the experience of the game. Thanks :)

 

First throw of all levels

After these months of work, we can say that the core of this new game is here and works very well. We can play several hours and have a good time.

After validating the game experience, I added content to the game, including more levels, and more traps and triggers. I’m making a first version of all levels of the game.

Most levels and themes are done, with their unique traps and triggers, adding variety as you progress through levels.

I now have 12 levels, which is close to the total that I would like to have for the final version. This is very encouraging, especially as the levels that have not yet been done are very advanced on paper, or already prototyped.

When all the levels are done, I will look for difficulty, pace, and so on. I will run more playtests to validate the different aspects of game design, and also to have feedback on the game in its entirety.

 

Arcade or Adventure

A question that continues to tickle me, that I already tested a little during playtests, but that I have to look further, it is if I make the game more “Arcade” or more “Adventure”.

A game more “Arcade” would be a little more like Mario, with different independent levels for which we try to have the best “score”. For this concept it is more the performance of the player and the “visible” traps that dominate the gameplay.

A more “Adventure” game would be a little more like Dark Souls, where one explores a huge dungeon, keeping his inventory and various bonuses collected on the way. Here ist’s more exploration and “hidden” traps that would be at the heart of the gameplay.

From the beginning my choice is more on the Adventure side, especially because it will be the dominant part for my other games, including the goblin one. It will test different solutions and take the one that best suits the players and myself.

Musical theme

A long time ago I was contacted by Alexandre Sciré (https://alexandrescire.bandcamp.com, https://soundcloud.com/alexandrescire), a composer who offered his services to create original music for my game. I had put this idea aside for a long time because I was too busy dealing with game design and level design.

A few months ago I though it was time to look for it. At first I wanted to focus on the title screen music. After a few exchanges on what I wanted, and a few days of waiting, the game now has an epic main theme that fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the game!

Improved Website

One more time, I improved the website https://www.wildmagegames.com, this time focusing on the front page that I found really too “amateur”. All your returns are welcome :)

Roadmap

So I’m finishing the first version of all levels, and preparing the next playtests.

I still have not worked on the story. There is a lot of novels that I have written that could stick, but I need some time to do it seriously and have a real “Almost Epic Adventure”.

It will then iterate on all levels to improve the level design, probably several times, make one or more passes of visual improvement, and finally do all the little tricks to polish the game but that take so much time.

See you soon,

Arnaud


Devlog January 2019


Hello everyone, here’s news from the front.

Last month I told you about a bad news and two good ones, it’s time to explain everything.

Current State

I have been working on the goblin game for 4 years. This project I imagined quick to do is actually much longer than expected. I have regularly made assessments, reviewed my schedules. I asked myself the question of simplifying the concept or making another game, but I always chose to continue because the game is really the kind of games I wanted to do. For me, there is no point in being independent if it is not to do the project “of my dreams”, while remaining achievable. It is therefore consciously that I decided each time to continue, knowing that it would be difficult.

I might be tempted to be pessimistic in thinking that the game is “still not finished”, but I think that for a game made by one person, it is incredibly advanced and promising. The gameplay is much richer than originally imagined, and much closer to my original inspirations (Deus Ex, Thief). Most of the elements are functional, the story is really cool, the dialogues are fun, the experience is always improving. There have also been success like Steam Greenlight, and regular feedback shows that people are still interested.

In November, I planned the remaining work. I announced a long time ago that I already did 75%, but I was wrong. Some systems have shown their limitations and needed to be redone, and accumulated fatigue has reduced my work rate. I reworked the IA using Behavior Trees.

The level design of the dungeon was also much more complex than I imagined, especially with its unique metroid-vania structure. I do not want to spoil by showing the dungeon, so here is an image of one of the many dungeon areas:

I feel that I still have at least 1 year of work.

Continuing like this, the risk that the discouragement will eventually prevail before the end of the project is too important, not to mention the financial aspect. Let’s not forget that a lot of the people who go into independent video games give up before the end of their first project. I do not want it to happen, because I really want to finish this game, but also create all the other games I’ve already imagined!

Divide and conquer

There is too much work left to do, and too much to do at once.

I first tried to divide the remaining work in different ways. Either by focusing on the elements chronologically, or on gameplay elements, or on all the playable game to improve it gradually. The problem is that my game is an “immersive sim”. All the mechanics must work at a satisfactory level to really bring the desired experience to life.

I thought about releasing the game “by chapter”, especially by cutting the different days into episodes. The problem is that episode 1 represents 90% of the work, which is still too much to do at once. In addition, the organic and non-linear aspect of my game is not very compatible with this method.

I thought about what could be removed from the game to make it a “minimal” game. Again, the interest of the gameplay comes from the subtle mix of all components of the game. It is impossible to delete some elements without completely degrading the experience. I do not want to spoil the concept of the game.

Take a step back to take a big jump forward

The goblin is a role-playing game that mixes several gameplay elements: trapped dungeon exploration, stealth, cleaning dungeon, adventure (stories, quests, dialogues, etc.). When I started working on the game, I had a dozen other projects in mind, including a dungeon exploration game.

One approach to finishing the goblin might be to focus on subsets of what the goblin represents. For example, doing a trap dungeon game would complete all aspects of dungeons, traps, character controls, and so on.

I have always been reluctant to get into this project because I was afraid to turn away from my initial motivations. In 2016 I spent a week testing this concept, but I did not like it, especially since I had not quite grasped the experience that was trying to create through all my games. Since then, all the work on the goblin has paid off and I have a much better vision of what I want to do.

After this last assessment, and because of the great uncertainty of being able to finish the goblin before the end of 2019, I thought it was time to try again, this time with much more mature ideas, much richer gameplays. In December, I gave myself 2 weeks to make a prototype that focuses on the exploration of trapped dungeons, to see if it was feasible, and especially if it was interesting.

In just two weeks, I created more than 1 hour of playable game, 8 levels, and the playtests were very positive. According to some testers, the game was even better than the goblin one. So I validated the concept and since then I am working on this other game.

There are many advantages. The game is simpler, I am more efficient, I can polish the gameplay, the level design, and the amount of work is acceptable. I’m sure I’ll have a nice and finished game in a few months. This new project has also boosted my morale and creativity, and finishing it will also be a big relief, which will allow me to work on the goblin more serenely. I also improve every day my level design skills, which will be useful to improve the goblin’s dungeon. Finally, the elements of this game being a subset of the goblin, working on this game also allows me to work on the goblin! We can say that working on that project is also working on the goblin project!

The bad news is that the goblin will not be released in 2019. The two good news is that I’m working on an equally interesting game that will be released in the year, and that finish it increases significantly the chances to release the goblin and to improve it!

Doors, Traps, Treasures

The game does not have an official name yet. The player explores increasingly complex trapped dungeons to retrieve treasures. The traps are hidden, you have to be careful. The main feature is the emphasis on interactions and physics, which allows the player to imagine his own solutions to overcome the traps. You will also find the universe and humor imagined for the goblin game.

Roadmap

After doing several levels of prototypes I am now improving them and creating new ones. I will do very regular playtests, and I will create a presentation page in the coming months. I will keep you informed of the progress.

Feel free to give me your opinion on all that.

See you soon,

Arnaud


Multi Device Preview 1.7 is Out!


Multi Device Preview & Gallery 1.7 is out!
Now with Full Device Preview for more than 40 devices!

/!\ READ BEFORE UPDATING from 1.6 to 1.7

Several files have been moved or removed in update 1.7. It is recommended to do a clean re-install by removing the AlmostEngine folder before importing the update. Do not forget to backup your custom prefabs before doing so. Otherwise, follow the upgrade process described below.

Upgrade Instructions: If you want to manually move and remove the files instead of doing a clean reinstall, do as follow:
1. Move MultiDevicePreviewConfig.asset to AlmostEngine/MultiDevicePreview/Assets/ Not doing it will result in large build resource files.
2. Move ScreenshotWindowConfig.asset to AlmostEngine/UltimateScreenshotCreator/Assets/ Not doing it will result in large build resource files.
3. Move ScreenshotResolutionPresets.cs to AlmostEngine/UltimateScreenshotCreator/Assets/Scripts/Editor/
4. Remove DeviceResolutionPresets.cs
5. Remove PopularityResolutionPresets.cs
6. Remove RatioResolutionPresets.cs
7. Remove ResolutionDebugPresets.cs

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any issues or questions.

1.7.0 – 13/01/2019

(NEW FEATURE)Full device preview for more than 40 devices, including phones with notches.
Contains now more than 200 mobile phone and tablet presets.
New popularity presets for most used smartphones, steam hardware.
New preset collections.
Improved resolution list display.
(NEW FEATURE) Generate hundreds of multilingual promotional pictures with the composer and batch process.
(NEW FEATURE) Create custom presets and collections saved as assets that can be shared between projects.
(NEW FEATURE) Display a screenshot thumbnail when taking screenshots.
(NEW FEATURE) Simple Localization system to easily localize your game and promotional pictures.
Possibility to automatically remove the iOS and Android permission requirements.
Automatically add the iOS Photos framework dependency.
Support of Unity 2018.3.
(Fix) Fixed gameview size on retina displays.
(API) Presets are now asset files.
(API) Popularity preset are now asset files, referencing preset assets.
(API) Moved ScreenshotManager specific symbols parsing to the ScreenshotManager.
(API) Moved all extra features to the namespace AlmostEngine.Screenshot.Extra.
(API) Gallery and preview windows do not use the ScreenshotManager anymore.
(API) Gallery and preview windows new delegates: onUpdateBeginDelegate, onUpdateEndDelegate


Ultimate Screenshot Creator 1.7 is Out!


Ultimate Screenshot Creator 1.7 is out!
Check the awesome new features!

/!\ READ BEFORE UPDATING from 1.6 to 1.7

Several files have been moved or removed in update 1.7. It is recommended to do a clean re-install by removing the AlmostEngine folder before importing the update. Do not forget to backup your custom prefabs before doing so. Otherwise, follow the upgrade process described below.

Upgrade Instructions: If you want to manually move and remove the files instead of doing a clean reinstall, do as follow:
1. Move ScreenshotWindowConfig.asset to AlmostEngine/UltimateScreenshotCreator/As sets/. Not doing it will result in large build resource files.
2. Move ScreenshotResolutionPresets.cs to AlmostEngine/UltimateScreenshotCreator/Assets/Scripts/Editor. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any issues or questions.

1.7.0 – 13/01/2019

• (NEW FEATURE) Generate hundreds of multilingual promotional pictures with the composer and batch process.
• (NEW FEATURE) Create custom presets and collections saved as assets that can be shared between projects.
•(NEW FEATURE) Display a screenshot thumbnail when taking screenshots.
• (NEW FEATURE) Simple Localization system to easily localize your game and promotional pictures.
• Possibility to automatically remove the iOS and Android permission requirements.
• Automatically add the iOS Photos framework dependency.
• Support of Unity 2018.3.
• (Fix) Fixed gameview size on retina displays.
• (API) Presets are now asset files. • (API) Popularity preset are now asset files, referencing preset assets.
• (API) Moved ScreenshotManager specific symbols parsing to the ScreenshotManager.
• (API) Moved all extra features to the namespace AlmostEngine.Screenshot.Extra.


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