Sprint 1 – Here We Go! – Retrospective

HERE WE GO!

Week of January 15th, 2017

OVERVIEW

My first sprint is over, and I think I can with a straight face that it was a resounding success.

I got a ton done! Given that I now have 8+ hours a day to work on this project instead of ~2-3 then I guess I better have, but still, it was really nice to see come true.

Working from home and being my own boss is cool. And hard. Each morning I try to get up and get dressed as if I’m going to a real job. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not wearing a tie or anything, but I do wear shoes and a nice(ish) pair of pants and shirt and the like. My chair is not nearly as ergonomic as my previous work chair, but then again this cost $10 at Goodwill and not $1,000 from an office supply store.

It’s working for me.

Anyway, let’s move onto the highlights and lowlights

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The game looks and feels and plays nothing like it did before – and that’s good! The whole project was ripped open, rebuilt, polished, and put back together
  • I have entire systems working now, such as bug catching, interior transition, creature interaction, notifications, and more
  • I got way more art done than expected, and ended up replacing every piece of placeholder art with my own stuff
    • Everything is still WIP, but it’s also much, much closer in style and tone to the final product
  • I have a much deeper understanding of GML in general, but also specifically the powers of scripting
  • Everything went really great and I sincerely had a blast doing this all week. I am so genuinely happy about what I’m doing

LOWLIGHTS

  • I tried working in the city for one of the days and it was a real drag. Really hard to concentrate and I felt a lot more aimless than I did at home
  • I’ve run into a couple bugs that were clearly from my own lack of expertise as a developer, and that’s bummed me out
  • For as much as I got done, I do wish I got even more. I feel like I met my expectations for what I thought I could do, but I want to be at the stage where I am suprassing them. I need to be efficient in time and money

SHOW & TELL

Feature Friday: An Early Look at Catching Critters

This is the first of what will be many Feature Fridays. Each Friday I’ll take one major feature or interesting mechanic that I’ve been working on in Monster Village and really dive into it.

Today, I’m going to talk about the first of at least three hobbies: Critter Catching!

What are “Hobbies”?

At its heart, Monster Village is a village life simulator. With this in mind. you’re probably already expecting a fair amount of “stuff” to do, and you’d be correct to think so.

The game is going to be chock full of activities, pastimes, and a whole lot of other tasks that you can do on a daily basis. Today’s feature is about one category of activities called hobbies.

Hobbies are more involved than other activities, and there are a few things that really set them apart:

  • They require several specialized & upgradable tools to perform
  • There’s progression in the form of skills, titles, and other upgrades
  • Most important, the end result of each hobby is to find collectibles for your Compendium, the museum, your house, or just to sell

At present there are three hobbies in the development: Critter Catching, Fishing, and Treasure Hunting.  As you may have guessed already, today’s Feature Friday is digging into the first one!

 

What’s the best tool for catching critters? A critter-catching net! Seems obvious in retrospect

Tools of the Trade: Nets, Traps, & Bait

There are many type of critters out there to catch and collect. Some, like the annoying Sea Fly, require no hunting – they’ll find you

You again!

However, most critters aren’t so easy to catch. Take the Half-Hopper, pictured below. One look at the player and they’ll bolt away before you can catch them.

Don’t talk to me or my half-son ever again

Your net is your primary tool to capture critters. Sometimes you’ll need to chase the creature, and other times you’ll need to sneak up on them unawares.

But what if you can’t catch them with just a net? After all, this Half-Hopper – despite only having half the legs you’d expect of a frog – is pretty fast!

That’s where bait and traps come in.

Bait allows you to lure your quarry either toward you or a specific spot. This is especially valuable for critters that run away, but it can also be used to flush out creatures that are hiding in the environment.

Traps are often used in conjunction with bait to capture critters without the need of your net – in fact, you don’t even need to be around at all!

However, every critter in Monster Village is different, and catching them will require some planning. In fact, each critter has its own unique behaviors, likes & dislikes, and temperaments, so to be successful at hunting you’ll need to be observant, curious, and be willing to research.

Take the aforementioned Half-Hopper. It is known by all that these frogs have a special hankering for Sea Flies. As such, if you could just capture the easily catchable Sea Fly and then release it near the harder-to-catch Half-Hopper, you just might have some better luck…

Incredible! That frog was so hungry he didn’t even bother entering his walking animation!

Ok, so clearly there’s more work to be done here, but hopefully you get the idea!

The Future

Each area of the game will feature its own set of critters to catch & collect, and this will be a huge driver to explore and adventure through the many strange lands seen outside of town.

Some critters might be especially unique or bizarre, and they will certainly not be easy to get, so be sure to level up your skills, your net, and your knowledge to catch them all…

sure, why not?

Critter Catching is going to be a major part of the game, so expect to hear more about it in the near future!

PRE-SPRINT-14 – IT’S REAL AND IT’S SPECTACULAR – RETROSPECTIVE

IT’S REAL AND IT’S SPECTACULAR

Week of January 8th, 2017

OVERVIEW

This is it, friends. This big ol’ life change no longer needs to be spoken of in future tense or hypotheticals – it’s real.

(and yeah, it’s spectacular)

The career is dead; long live the career.

All in all this sprint was absolutely wonderful. I was able to get some real good work done, and I even published the first were-release – it’s not very good, of course, but it exists.

Just the act of putting up a build helped bring my goals and ideas into sharp focus. I now have a great sense for what the next release (code named “Snow”) has in store, as well as some strategies for getting there.

This is the final “Pre-Sprint”. What starts tomorrow is Sprint 1, and we’ll keep chugging away until this thing is finished or the wheels come flying off going highway speed.

Thanks for following along

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The first official release has been, uh, released – no matter how rough, it’s impossible not to be proud of that
  • Lot of good work, like with a new text system, a very basic dog fetch, sea fly AI, and more
  • Oh, and I actually quit my job to dedicate my life to this new thing – guess that’s important?

LOWLIGHTS

  • Leaving work was incredibly melancholy. There are certainly some things I won’t miss, but those people? The people I sat with and worked with for 6 years? I miss them all terribly
  • Had some very frustrating Git moments in which I completely hosed my “master” branch seemingly by accident
    • Lesson learned? Treat master with a bit more respect and branch more often

SHOW & TELL

 

Pre-Sprint 4: Retrospective

Overview

Man, I got a *ton* done this sprint. Lots of dev work. Lots of porting previous prototypes into a more finalized design. Refactoring. A whole bunch!

Looking ahead, it seems likely that this sudden increased velocity will continue for a time, but can’t last forever. Still, I’m enjoying it while it lasts

Development

+ Added variable tail wagging animations

+ Created entities for dog and bugs

+ Added bugs. Like, flies, not coding bugs

+ Also added coding bugs

+ Then I added way more bugs

+ Implemented state system

+ Implemented new map

+ Basic physics

+ Created entity for human

+ Lots of refactoring!

+ Rudimentary day/night prototyping

Demo

peek-2016-11-04-20-56

peek-2016-11-05-19-04

sure

Pre-Sprint 3: Retrospective

I’ll probably mix the format of this up from time to time, especially as I’m still firmly in the “pre-game” of sprint planning. So, let’s do this thing!

Overview

Sprint went well. Did a little bit of everything, from coding to design to art to my business itself. As I’ve said twice already these “pre-sprints” are going to be weird and disjointed, but that’s ok because it’s still progress.

Change Log

Coding

+ Made scaling crisper

+ Added portrait to dialog

+ Locked camera to map

+ Implement two additional monsters

Generally made the code far worse and hacky and terrible, and everyone hates it

Design

Puttered about with TFS

+ Designed several new monsters! See them below

+ Began reading The Art of Game Design

Demo

well2

green-ball-1 masked-ball bollywood