Author Topic: Kingdom of Ehcilc  (Read 30712 times)

Kingdom of Ehcilc
« on: 19 Apr 2014, 11:58 »

Kingdom of Ehcilc will be a classic point-and-click adventure game revolving around fantasy and adventure game cliches.
It's currently planned to be about an hour long and will hopefully be released as freeware in 2015.




Current team:
  • Hobo - game design, graphics, writing, scripting
  • Atavismus - scripting, additional puzzles and writing

Features:
  • An overly complicated 4-verb GUI to scare away modern low-attention span gamers
  • Choose a hero and experience reasonable differences in the way you play the game
  • Eye-popping trophy room for all the scrooge-like achievement hoarders
  • Multicolored non-HD cutscene(s) that might even be animated
  • Challenging mini-games and intense action sequences and maybe even some puzzles too
  • No multiplayer or floppy disk support. Sorry everyone! :(


Updates and progress:
         I'll try to post something every week or two or three and some stuff might also be announced in tulevik.EU twitter.

         Update 1 (23.04.2014) - Current state of things and the beginning of our journey

         Update 2 (03.05.2014) - Story and setting

         Update 3 (15.05.2014) – Small pixels, big picture

         Update 4 (29.05.2014) - Take a Look or Use the Talk?

         Update 5 (19.06.2014) - Captain's Log, Stardate 5839.12.3

         Update 6 (27.07.2014) - Colors... those wonderful, beautiful colors

         Update 7 (19.09.2014) - My conversations with dialogues

         Update 8 (08.10.2014) - Keep it moving!

         Update 9 (10.01.2015) - Puzzled?

         Update 10 (24.01.2015) - It's not the size that matters...

         Update 11 (24.03.2015) - Quite a character

         Update 12 (11.04.2015) - More pixels! All new and shiny!

         Update 13 (01.08.2015) - Behind the scenes

         Update 14 (11.02.2016) - Tales of paths

         Update 15 (23.07.2017) - One man's trash is another man's treasure

         Update 16 (22.08.2017) – The surprisingly uneventful migration of the game called Ehcilc

         Update 17 (08.10.2017) - Options on the menu   
« Last Edit: 08 Oct 2017, 17:44 by Hobo »

Gribbler

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #1 on: 19 Apr 2014, 12:19 »
Hey, this looks really good. Beautiful art. Good luck with the production!

Gurok

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #2 on: 19 Apr 2014, 13:00 »
Very nice graphics. The title screen evokes feelings of a classic fantasy RPG. Looking forward to playing it twice to see the differences between characters!

CaptainD

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #3 on: 19 Apr 2014, 13:10 »
I really like the look of this one already. 8-)

miguel

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #4 on: 19 Apr 2014, 13:58 »
The Captain knows his shit. Great stuff Hobo!
Working on a RON game!!!!!

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #5 on: 19 Apr 2014, 23:20 »
This game looks promising.  Nice work!

Ghost

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #6 on: 20 Apr 2014, 00:58 »
Kingdom of Ehcilc

!ereht did uoy tahw ees I
(laugh)

ThreeOhFour

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #7 on: 20 Apr 2014, 04:43 »
Looks awesome :D

Stupot

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #8 on: 20 Apr 2014, 15:08 »
Nice look. best of luck ;)

Mandle

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #9 on: 20 Apr 2014, 16:35 »
Kingdom of Ehcilc

!ereht did uoy tahw ees I
(laugh)

Hahaha nice catch! I also tried the backwards reading thing when I saw the title but failed at it :-[

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #10 on: 20 Apr 2014, 17:00 »
Look's nice! Looking forward to it
Support Cloak and Dagger Games on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=460039

AprilSkies

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #11 on: 20 Apr 2014, 17:22 »
Hey man, Amazing artwork!!!
It's so AMIGA-fashioned!! (especially the last screenshot)! I can't wait to sink my teeth into it!

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #12 on: 20 Apr 2014, 18:15 »
Thanks for the kind and encouraging words everyone! I'll post the first introductory update in few days, which will cover the current state of things and reveal a bit more about the overall style and story of the game.

It's so AMIGA-fashioned!! (especially the last screenshot)!
Good to hear that, old amiga/dos games are certainly a big source of inspiraton for this one.

selmiak

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #13 on: 20 Apr 2014, 20:10 »
This looks very interesting, keep it up!

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #14 on: 23 Apr 2014, 11:23 »
Update 1 (23.04.2014) - Current state of things and the beginning of our journey

I've never quite understood how some people define their progress in exact percentages. Have they written complete design documents and thoroughly planned everything out or are they just throwing around random numbers? Well... I must say that I haven't really done much planning at all, but I do have a clear vision, a strong starting point and a vague idea about the ending, I'll just have to wait and see how the rest of it fills up.

Right now, the tech demo is more or less in working condition and most of the buttons do a thing when you click on them. We're currently polishing the GUI and doing some other functionality related scripting. Also, we've got some backgrounds, several character sprites, few items and couple of puzzle ideas.

All this unplanned and chaotic development means that I can't really share any specific and easily comprehensible information about the actual progress of the game, but I'll try to keep you guys informed in my own way.

Let us all close our eyes (not while reading this) and imagine that completing the development of this game is actually a long and dangerous journey to the top of Mount Modnar (the highest mountain in all of Ehcilc). If that were the case, our little team of adventurers would still be in the great plains of Nerrab, in the village of Ystnaf, haggling over food and equipment prices with Leofrick the shopkeeper.

To be honest, Ystnaf is not a bad place to start a journey from. We can easily rest here for couple of more weeks, gather our strength and replenish our supplies, before taking the first bold step towards the distant and mysterious peak of Modnar. Everything looks more than promising and the sleep is sweet under the blanket of our dream.

Since this post turned out a bit longer than I expected, I'll write about the story and setting in the next update.
Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.
« Last Edit: 23 Apr 2014, 11:28 by Hobo »

m0ds

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #15 on: 23 Apr 2014, 19:16 »
It does look nice, good job!

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #16 on: 03 May 2014, 09:53 »
Update 2 (03.05.2014) - Story and setting

I've been studying various old maps and ancient manuscripts during this past week in order to plot the best possible route for our journey and I think it's finally starting to take shape. There are some winding side paths and few dangerous crossings that I'm not that sure of, but in overall it's looking good. Still, I have this uneasy feeling in the back of my head that I’m going to have to keep checking and double-checking these plans over and over again, because, as all things in Ehcilc, the slippery slopes of Mount Modnar are not always what they seem.

Although Kingdom of Ehcilc revolves around cliches, it's not intended to be an all-out parody or a game stuffed with every little cliche known to mankind. As Ghost (+10 perception, X-ray vision unlocked) already pointed out, Ehcilc is cliche spelled backwards and that's kind of the direction I would like it to go, meaning that there will be different tropes and cliches in the game, but many of them are going to be turned upside down, tainted by weird sense of humour and offered multiple and/or alternative solutions.

The game itself will be set in a very typical fantasy setting, filled with your usual races and creatures, but we'll try to sneak in some less popular and underused elements and concepts of the genre. As for the plot... well, there's an idea (head) and a strong backbone, but rest of it is just a pile of bones that need to be picked up and fleshed out:



Just like the setting, the premise of the story is also simple and familiar to all who have had at least some experience in the realm of adventuring: Your home gets destroyed/ransacked, you're left behind hurt and dying and venture forth to seek a glorious revenge, but not really. The player will actually have a large say in the motivation and behaviour of the main character and if you don't want to follow the path of revenge, you can go pick flowers instead or whatever... or can you?

I hope all this sheds at least some light on our plans and I'll be sure to share more plot related details in the future, but until then, thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

Monsieur OUXX

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #17 on: 07 May 2014, 14:06 »
In before Armageddon posts : Watch out for the mixed resolutions (low-res drawings, hi-res font).
 

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #18 on: 07 May 2014, 16:33 »
In before Armageddon posts : Watch out for the mixed resolutions (low-res drawings, hi-res font).

If you mean the image from the 2nd update then that's not an actual in-game shot, just a mockup to illustrate the progress of the story. I was just lazy and used a default paintshop font there, no such shenanigans will appear in the game.

Monsieur OUXX

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #19 on: 09 May 2014, 11:07 »
If you mean the image from the 2nd update then that's not an actual in-game shot, just a mockup
Ok! I like the overall style, by the way.
 

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #20 on: 15 May 2014, 13:24 »
Update 3 (15.05.2014) – Small pixels, big picture

Over three weeks have passed and we're still in Ystnaf, still preparing, still not ready. To be honest, we're both very eager to leave, but at the same time we keep reminding ourselves that there's no hurry, few weeks or months here or there don't actually matter, there's plenty of time. It's not like Mount Modnar's going anywhere, at least I hope it's not, because there's actually one recorded instance in history of Ehcilc, when a mountain suddenly just stood up one day and ventured away. Might have been a behemoth or something...

Anyway, preparation is an important part of every journey and I'd like to be well prepared for this one. Last week I went over our equipment list to make sure that we're packing everything we need and it turned out that few important items are completely missing from our inventory and some need to be either repaired or replaced. I guess I'll have to pay one last visit to old Leofrick.

Since there are going to be multiple updates concerning the graphical aspects of the game, I'm going to start with a short introduction to give you some insight about how this game is being created.

First of all, I have a rather uncommon method of drawing – I use a Lenovo T61 laptop touchpad. Obviously I'm not capable of creating hi-res digital paintings with it, but it suits just fine for the style that I'm going for and actually feels quite natural. I have two programs: Paint.NET 4.0.5. for drawing and GraphicsGale 2.03.20 for animating sprites. Only tools I regularly use within these programs are brush, eraser, fill, line tool and color replacer.

All that is more than enough, considering my current level of experience. I have no background in art and have been actively pixeling less than a year, which means that everything I do is done by trial and error and pixel by pixel. Here's an example to illustrate character progression:



There are still a lot of things (shading, colors, perspective etc.) that I'm not satisfied with, but hopefully my skills will improve enough to fix some of the more obvious problems before the release.

Also, I'd like to encourage everyone who enjoy creating games not to let the lack of skills (in graphics, programming or whatever) stand in your way. Take your time, be patient, use whatever tools you feel comfortable with and just go for it!

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.
« Last Edit: 01 Aug 2015, 14:19 by Hobo »

miguel

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #21 on: 15 May 2014, 14:26 »
You're doing a great job, don't worry. Submit your stuff in the Critique Thread and you'll have amazing artists helping you out.
Working on a RON game!!!!!

Monsieur OUXX

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #22 on: 15 May 2014, 14:52 »
You're doing a great job, don't worry.
Same here. Your drawings are very clean and you have a good sense of colors, so everything looks polished up enough, and that's what matters.
 

AnasAbdin

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #23 on: 15 May 2014, 14:57 »
100% agree with miguel and Monsieur OUXX...

Also, I'd like to encourage everyone who enjoy creating games not to let the lack of skills (in graphics, programming or whatever) stand in your way. Take your time, be patient, use whatever tools you feel comfortable with and just go for it!

I really LOVE this.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #24 on: 16 May 2014, 13:57 »
Thanks miguel, Monsieur OUXX and AnasAbdin. I'm not actually too worried or frustrated about the graphics, it's just that the more I draw, the more I start seeing things that could be improved, stuff that I didn't even think about before. And I'll be sure to post in the Critics' Lounge in the future.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #25 on: 29 May 2014, 10:28 »
Update 4 (29.05.2014) – Take a Look or Use the Talk?

Man, that Leofrick sure drives a hard bargain, nothing is ever easy with him. Oh yeah, have I mentioned that Leofrick's an ogre? Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against ogres, they're friendly folk and make good and trustworthy companions, but there's just something about Leofrick...

He's actually one of the most well-spoken and intelligent ogres I've ever met and I guess that might be the very thing that bothers me. He's probably a bit too smart for his own good, because doing business with an ogre, who can easily beat you in a game of wishwhacks, is somewhat unsettling. Nevertheless, after a hard days work (and believe me, it was hard) I managed to get most of the necessary stuff for a fairly reasonable price and now we should have all the basic equipment we need to complete our journey.

And you know what? I think that we're finally ready to leave Ystnaf behind and start following the yellow brick road towards Mount Modnar.

I would like Kingdom of Ehcilc to have as much basic settings and keyboard/mouse options as AGS allows, which means that you can expect stuff like speed and audio sliders, gamma adjustment and other similar options that should offer at least some variety and customization.

Current versions (they need a bit more polish and few more settings):



Keyboard shortcuts for verbs are a must and I'm also thinking of making the keys rebindable and using mouse wheel to scroll through them. Speaking of verbs, you don't really see many multi-verb adventure games these days and I doubt that I'll use this system in any of my future games, but it should work well with Echilc and I sort of like it. Besides the nostalgia and cliche factor, the additional verbs should give us some extra options when it comes to designing puzzles and interactions. In an ideal game, all the hotspots, objects and characters would respond differently to each verb, but that's probably a bit too much for this one. Still, the idea is to actually utilize these verbs and use them as well as we can.

Most recent UI version:


The game will have a permanently visible on-screen user interface, which means that you don’t have to make any extra clicks to open the inventory window or mess around with different top/bottom sliding menus. Although it might make the game feel a bit less immersive, I figured it would be easier for the players to make associations when they can always visually see all the tools (verbs, inventory) that they need to solve the puzzles or interact with things. Also, it means smaller backgrounds, which in turn means less drawing for me.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #26 on: 19 Jun 2014, 16:34 »
Update 5 (19.06.2014) – Captain's Log, Stardate 5839.12.3

We're finally on the road and things are looking good! The weather has been near perfect, the path is clear and progress steady.

Our departure did not give cause to any fancy farewell parties or big celebrations. Few villagers wished us safe passage and swift legs and some kids tagged along with us until we reached the edge of the forest, but in overall, our prolonged stay in Ystnaf went relatively unnoticed. Well, to be honest, there's wasn't really any reason for them to celebrate, but I'm certainly hoping to give them one when we come back.

I'm still not completely sure when we will reach the mountain, but I know that the closer we get, the more motivated and committed we are.

Also, I think I should have taken more scrolls with me, because during the first few days I've already been drawing and writing so much that most of them are starting to get full:


As some of you might have noticed (you probably have, if you're reading this), I've been writing a somewhat regular devlog/blog about Kingdom of Ehcilc. I'm mainly doing it because I enjoy reading such things myself. Unraveling the whys and hows behind someone's development process can often even be more interesting for me than playing the game itself.

It usually takes me about 15-20 minutes to write the text, plus some additional time for formatting the forum post, editing images etc. So far, the word count has been around 300-500 words per update and will probably stay in that range in the future. The first part of the update is written as an adventurer's diary and the second part tries to concentrate on a specific aspect of the game.

Besides revealing hints about the current progress, the diary segment also gives me an opportunity to share the quirky lore of Ehcilc, which means that those who are interested in the game have a chance to get familiarized with different locations and characters and know at least some of the backstory before jumping in.

I must admit that the second half of the updates has been rather vague about some things, but trust me (or ask Atavismus), I can't really reveal much about the plot or release a bunch of backgrounds and characters without spoiling the whole game. So, I hope you bear with me, because there's still a lot I want to write about and if anyone is intrested in something particular, let me know, I'll try to squeeze it in somewhere.

A pdf version of all the posts will be included with the final version of the game and a small preview example of that can be found here.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

Mandle

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #27 on: 19 Jun 2014, 16:57 »
Best of luck with this project!!! It looks like it's really coming good and I wish I was playing it right now!

For your long journey, I hope you haven't forgotten to pack the mystical Pam Daor, or the Ecived SPG for the more technologically advanced traveller...

Happy trails!

Atavismus

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #28 on: 19 Jun 2014, 20:27 »
For your long journey, I hope you haven't forgotten to pack the mystical Pam Daor, or the Ecived SPG for the more technologically advanced traveller...
:D
This "mystical Pam Daor" could be a great trophy, don't you think Hobo?!
Thx for your words and for the nice idea Mandle.
Cya around Modnar! ;)

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #29 on: 23 Jun 2014, 10:32 »
This "mystical Pam Daor" could be a great trophy, don't you think Hobo?!
There's still plenty of room in the treasury, so it might happen :smiley:

Thank you for your kind words and useful suggestions, Mandle.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #30 on: 27 Jul 2014, 21:17 »
Update 6 (27.07.2014) - Colors... those wonderful, beautiful colors

The daily routine of travelling and these long hot summer days have been quite exhausting and because of that I have neglected my diary for more than a month by now. We've actually covered a lot of ground and I finally feel that both my mind and body are starting to get accustomed to the strain of the road and I've begun to write down my thoughts once again.

I stayed up pretty late last night. Well, to be honest, I have stayed up late almost every night. Maybe it's the heat or the anxiety of the road, but I often find it hard to fall asleep. I don't really mind though, since it allows me to mull over important matters and plan ahead for the coming days. But as I said, I stayed up late last night and was awestruck by the spectacular ehcilcian sunset.

There's something truly magical about the way how the setting sun unceasingly invades the lush green with faint shades and soft hues as the flames of the campfire make the shadows dance on the tree trunks and wild eyes glow in the nearing darkness of the forest. I wish I could share this bewitching sight, but I'm afraid that plain words and rough sketches can't even deliver the half of it.

This calm and soothing dusk has become one of my favorite parts of the day. It's a time when I can just relax alone in the midst of my own thoughts and absorb in everything around me -  all the shapes and sounds and colors of Ehcilc.



For some reason, I'm usually not really bothered by many common drawing “mistakes” like weird anatomy or slightly off perspectives, but when things on my screen start to look eye-hurtingly saturated and bright, I get a little worried.

In order to maintain a consistent look and make things easier to manage, I decided to keep the colors scheme of the game relatively clean and simple. This means that there's no massive anti-aliasing or dithering, complex shading or shadows. Most backgrounds use around 50-100 colors and characters usually require 10-20. Even with (or maybe because of) such a low color count, finding the right colors can be rather troublesome, but after a lot of mixing and matching and testing, I usually get the stuff on my screen looking the way I want it to look. Sadly, this does not mean that it's done, on the contrary, this is where things get frustrating, because the colors look right only on MY laptop screen.

The dusty small screen of my trusty old Lenovo isn't really meant for any serious artistic endeavours and that's why I wanted to see how the screenshots look on a bigger screen before I posted the announcement topic in the AGS forums. And while everything looked neat and pleasant on my side, it was far from intended on a real monitor. Some of the colors looked way too bright and almost none were what they were supposed to be.

Comparison of colors:



So far, I've had a chance to look at Ehcilc from four different laptop and two different desktop computers. It's not really enough to make any substantial conclusions, but there seems to be a pattern emerging. My original color scheme looks fine on all laptop screens, but a bit too saturated and vivid on bigger LCD monitors, at least for my eyes. I solved the issue by decreasing saturation and brightness until everything looked more or less acceptable on all screens, but I'm probably going to have to tweak it some more before the final release.

All this led to adding a brightness/gamma slider to the game and I'm thinking of including other options that would allow the players to adjust the look of the game to a certain degree. Also, I'm guessing that I should find some time to create a proper color palette that I could use across all backgrounds and perhaps even invest in a quality monitor some time in the future.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #31 on: 19 Sep 2014, 14:50 »
Update 7 (19.09.2014) – My conversations with dialogues

We've been traveling through the forest of Taeper these past weeks and I must say that this has been one of the weirdest experiences of our journey so far. There nothing odd about the forest itself, it's actually quite peaceful and beautiful, but its inhabitants, the people and creatures who live here, are of the most peculiar kind.

For example, just the other day I saw an old man standing under a twisted chestnut tree, fiddling with his staff and stroking his long gray beard. The expression on his face was as blank as a side of sole leather and every time I approached to talk to him, he said: “Welcome to Taeper! I like swords!” It did not matter what I said or asked, the answer was always the same. We actually set up camp not far from the place and when we left in the morning, the man was still there, stroking his beard and muttering about Taeper and swords.

It just seems so odd and unreal. What's wrong with these people? It's almost as if they're stuck in a loop. Most of them are completely unresponsive and some seem to react to only certain questions and very specific trigger words. Is this whole forest enchanted and they're all controlled by some powerful dark magic? Are they mindless golems or conjured up illusions, put on this path to either aid or confuse people?

Well, luckily we'll be out of these accursed woods pretty soon and hopefully there will be sentient beings waiting us on the other side.



Since Kingdom of Ehcilc is only my second game, I'm using it to test out certain gameplay features, puzzle types and story elements. And just as I'm exploring the possibilities of the 4-verb gui, I'm also going to try something a bit different with the dialogue system. What I'd like to do is to give the player almost full control over the conversation and most of the time an option to stay silent or simply leave.

In many dialogue-heavy games, the player usually chooses a line or a topic and then there will be a conversation carried out between the characters. Sometimes you get a short answer and are then allowed to choose again, but often it triggers a rather lengthy conversation without the player having any chance to contribute. This means that you're not actually talking, but only influencing the conversation or slightly changing its direction. Such dialogues can sometimes look very static, especially without fancy animations or voice acting, and require very little interaction.

My plan is to let the player choose almost every line the character says in a conversation, which means huge branching dialogue trees with different options, including the choice to stay silent or rudely leave. Additionally, I would like to make the dialogues in the game feel as natural as possible and more similar to an actual realistic conversation, so that the NPCs wouldn't just stand around and wait for you to ask them the same old questions over and over again, but get bored/angry with the player and even initiate conversations themselves. All this will hopefully lead to more engaging and less repetitive conversations and make the characters feel more alive and meaningful.

I don't really know how clearly I managed to explain it all and how many people would actually enjoy this kind of system or if I'm able to implement it at all, but at least I'd like to give it a try.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

   

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #32 on: 08 Oct 2014, 13:15 »
Update 8 (08.10.2014) – Keep it moving!

Taeper is now far behind us and everything is starting to looking much more lively and animated. We're also finally getting closer to the mountains, the land is swelling more steeply here and long shallow hollows and small hillocks are becoming part of our everyday road.

Speaking of hills, earlier today we saw some strange smoke rising from behind one of the larger ones. It looked a bit too big and dark to be a simple campfire, but not quite big enough for a forest fire. Could be a siege (although we haven't heard any sounds of battle) or maybe some magical anomaly? We're probably going to go and investigate it tomorrow, but obviously with utmost caution. We haven't seen anything dangerous or threatening on our journey so far, but one can never be too careful when travelling through the lands of Ehcilc.



I've always considered animation (even bad one) to be more important than the overall graphical quality of the game. Even a few measly pixels moving around here and there can add a lot of atmosphere and emotion to otherwise flat and dull locations and make things more fun to watch and interact with. Let's just say that a bunch of ugly ducklings stumbling around has always seemed more interesting to me than a beautiful dead swan.

Different little background animations and character movements will also find their way into Kingdom of Ehcilc. This means all sorts of interaction, talking, idle and other such animations for the player and most NPCs and there's going to be some stuff happening in the background too, like animated scrolls, burning fire or whatever else I can think of.



Sure, some of it may look completely useless and probably take much more time to finish than it's actually worth, but hey, I enjoy doing that kind of work and polishing up small details or adding extra animations is something that I could do all day long. I really do hope that I will manage to create a world where pixels can roam around free and frames are abundant.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

Adeel

  • Cavefish
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #33 on: 08 Oct 2014, 14:40 »
I've always considered animation (even bad one) to be more important than the overall graphical quality of the game. Even a few measly pixels moving around here and there can add a lot of atmosphere and emotion to otherwise flat and dull locations and make things more fun to watch and interact with. Let's just say that a bunch of ugly ducklings stumbling around has always seemed more interesting to me than a beautiful dead swan.

I highly agree with this. I like your idea and/or concept. Simply impressive. Looking forward to play this game!
-

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #34 on: 09 Oct 2014, 10:59 »
Looks excellent, like the meta-game you're playing here.  Like Tarantino for gamer retroniks!  Or maybe Planescape Torment but skinny on the Torment, heavy on the dyslexia?  Either way, I'm sure a single play through will cure airborne ebola.  Best of luck to ye trope ropers!  (Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm saying, It's 11:52 I'm in an airport getting preemptive jetlag, and I'm on a Samsung Galaxy S4 I late-adopted 36 hours ago.  The opinions and auto corrects e pressed in this paragraph are those of Silver Spook parasympathetic nervous system and are not representative of the conscious agent)

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #35 on: 18 Oct 2014, 12:51 »
Thanks a lot for the positive comments, Adeel nad SilverSpook.

I highly agree with this.
Always good to see like-minded people in the forum.

Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm saying
I was also a bit confused at first, but after reading your text twice and thrice it's all so clear now... or maybe not?

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #36 on: 20 Oct 2014, 13:44 »
Looks excellent, like the meta-game you're playing here.  Like Tarantino for gamer retroniks!  Or maybe Planescape Torment but skinny on the Torment, heavy on the dyslexia?  Either way, I'm sure a single play through will cure airborne ebola.  Best of luck to ye trope ropers!  (Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm saying, It's 11:52 I'm in an airport getting preemptive jetlag, and I'm on a Samsung Galaxy S4 I late-adopted 36 hours ago.  The opinions and auto corrects e pressed in this paragraph are those of Silver Spook parasympathetic nervous system and are not representative of the conscious agent)

(laugh)

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #37 on: 21 Oct 2014, 04:42 »
I did not have mental relations, with that man, SilverSpook.  >.>  (Aside: I no longer text like a retarded baboon with Twinkies for thumbs, yay!)

Anyways, keep up the good work! 

Queen Kara

  • That 80's Lady
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #38 on: 10 Jan 2015, 06:55 »
The art thus far looks nice! I wish I was that good. Is there going to be an option for female gamers to play as a female knight or warrior or a pirate captain or voodoo queen not just the old stereotypes - (  princesses and other damsels in distress, sidekicks , love interests , false "action girls", and standbys ) - various roles or a limited set of roles females can play? Since you said "heroes" as in we'll probably or might be getting choices akin to quest for glory and the elder scrolls from this....am I right or wrong about that? Anyway, just some suggestions for you if you're going to give us ladies some options as well. I have a soft spot for "fluffy" romance stories :-[ but I like playing violent and scary things as well. It's not that I absolutely hate love stories added to things it's just the way people usually go about them - ( think disney princesses ) - is what I can have issues with at times.  I'm already looking forward to playing....no matter what you do or don't do , since it seems that it will be a fantasy game or maybe even "meta" with the way you've been discussing it ( ? )

This project seems to be quite ambitious with what you want to do and how you want gamers to feel and enjoy from the game.
« Last Edit: 10 Jan 2015, 06:58 by Queen Kara »
Klaatu Verata Niktu?

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #39 on: 10 Jan 2015, 11:28 »
Thank you for your comments, Queen Kara.

Is there going to be an option for female gamers to play as a female knight or warrior
I have actually thought about giving the players the option to choose the gender of the hero, even drew a test sprite for the female warrior. The game is actually built in a way that there's nothing gender-specific in it, so I would just have to draw new sets of hero sprites for both paths. I can't give you a guarantee that it will happen, but I'm seriously considering it.

I can however assure that there are currently no helpless damsels in the game. Since it's not going to be a full lenght game, I'm afraid there's no room for romance at all. It would probably feel too forced and there's not enough game time to properly develop a serious relationship between characters.

Since you said "heroes" as in we'll probably or might be getting choices akin to quest for glory and the elder scrolls from this....am I right or wrong about that?
If by choices you mean character customization, then sadly no.

The project is indeed a bit ambitious, especially since it's only my second game, but I'm having lots of fun developing it and not once have I been overly frustrated or had any motivational problems.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #40 on: 10 Jan 2015, 12:40 »
Update 9 (10.01.2015) – Puzzled?

I haven't written in my journal for a long time and there's actually a rather practical reason for it. I was simply out of paper, I had none. But why didn't I have any? Well... that's a bit of a strange and winding story, but I'll try to be brief.

In my last entry I mentioned a weird black smoke and suspected that it might be a siege or some sort of magical anomaly and since it was still there after a good night's sleep, we decided to take a closer look. It wasn't a siege, but a strange force field in a shape of a dome and something magical was indeed trapped under it.

I had heard tales of these so-called fire fairies or flamesparks as the Ystnafians called them, but seeing them with my own two eyes was something else, especially when that something else appeared before me under such circumstances.

There were dozens of them, sphere-shaped and flame-winged with burning eyes and sparkling orange fur and it seemed that for some reason they had been sealed under an unyielding dome of magic. All of them together formed a huge bonfire-like mass that kept bombarding its prison with ferocious flares and released dark puffs of smoke whenever one of them dared to get too close to the barrier. You could almost smell the scorching stench of fear in the air and great pain reflected on the faces of each and every one of them. So, we decided to do what any sentient being with a conscience would do and set them free.

I will not go into exact details, but we managed to come up with an excessively far-fetched and convoluted plan that consisted combining our inventory items with nearby environment and a completely random thingamajig I picked up weeks ago. And although the whole process and the final solution looked fairly ridiculous, it worked like a charm.

While most of them scattered to the four winds when the walls came tumbling down, one little fellow decided to follow us and become a third member of our party. A new cute companion was kind of fun and exciting at first, but soon became extremely annoying and tedious, mainly because our sparky friend enjoyed consuming everything I tried to write on. I thought it just had a thing for wood and paper, but when I switched to animal skins, it also devoured those like a ravenous Modnarian mountain wolf. I think I even began to understand why those troublemaking rascals were locked behind that damn force field.

This went on for months and despite all our efforts to get rid of the critter, it stubbornly remained by our side until last week, when we finally managed to barter the thing off to one of the local farmers. I think she stuffed it into a stove or something. Anyway, I'm now back into my journal writing habits and since I have gathered lots of stories and ideas in the meantime, I will be sharing them pretty soon.


I'm pretty new to all aspects of game development and next to drawing and animating, designing interesting and fun puzzles has been one of the biggest challenges so far. Actually, one of the reasons I decided to make a cliché themed game was to study the existing games, their design and approach to puzzles and learn from them. This means that there will be a lot of common and familiar puzzles from other adventure games, but whenever possible, I'll try to spice them up and offer alternative solutions. For example, I'm planning to have a new take on pixel hunt and find fresh creative uses for such legendary adventure game inventory items like the crowbar or the blue cup.

The core of the puzzle system is of course the 4-verb GUI, which means that (at least in theory) all objects, characters, hotspots etc. react somewhat differently to each verb. This in turn will lead to multiple solutions and may occasionally require out-of-the-box thinking. Some of the puzzles also depend on whether you choose the wizard or the warrior, as one of the paths will be more magic related and the other requires more brute force.


For instance, the image above illustrates an item combining puzzle that requires you to interact with an actual inventory bag (not finished yet, some items are missing). This one belongs to the warrior and therefore contains weapons, armor pieces etc. and the wizard’s inventory hat will obviously have potions and scrolls and other such stuff in it.

I'm not a huge fan of extremely difficult or convoluted puzzles, so the game will probably end up being on the easy side and hopefully as logical as possible. Of course, taking into account the game world and it's peculiar inhabitants, magic and other weird fantasy gimmicks may be used to explain some of the puzzles.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

AnasAbdin

  • Peace, Love and AGS
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #41 on: 10 Jan 2015, 13:21 »
Great to see some progress ;-D even better great to hear about multiple solves for some puzzles. Adding the choice between male/female characters will be very interesting and adds great value to the game.

This is one of the games I really like to see updates from. Please keep us updated with your lovely journals and if you run out of papers let me know :-D
« Last Edit: 10 Jan 2015, 13:36 by AnasAbdin »

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #42 on: 12 Jan 2015, 15:43 »
Thanks, AnasAbdin. I'll try to post more often this year, the gap between 8th and 9th was way too long.

Adding the choice between male/female characters will be very interesting and adds great value to the game.
It would certainly add some visual variety, but gameplay and story will barely be affected by this. It probably wouldn't be a reasonable move for commercial titles, but since it's a free game, I can easily double or even triple the animation department budget with no problems :) Also, no one really cares about gender or race in Ehcilc, it's a pretty equal and tolerant kingdom.

Here are test sprites that I mentioned:




And since I'm already posting tests and stuffs, then here's a little mockup:
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:

CaptainD

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #43 on: 12 Jan 2015, 20:04 »
I featured your game on my site - http://www.indiegamenews.com/2015/01/kingdom-of-ehcilc.html - because it just looks too good to not feature on it. 

Glad the puzzles won't be too hard, that way maybe even I will manage to solve them! :-D

AnasAbdin

  • Peace, Love and AGS
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #44 on: 13 Jan 2015, 16:26 »
no one really cares about gender or race in Ehcilc.
Maybe this was the case for some people, but I do care specially after seeing the sprites, and now I'm obsessed! (laugh)

Anyway it's all up to you as an author seeing what suits better that piece of art you are creating :)

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #45 on: 14 Jan 2015, 10:49 »
Thank you so much for the feature, CaptainD, I really appreciate it.

I am a bit curious about the adventure/RPG hybrid part though :)
I don't think I've mentioned anything about RPG elements, have I?

CaptainD

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #46 on: 14 Jan 2015, 11:23 »
Thank you so much for the feature, CaptainD, I really appreciate it.

I am a bit curious about the adventure/RPG hybrid part though :)
I don't think I've mentioned anything about RPG elements, have I?

Um... um... um... I guess that was just the impression I got.  Or maybe I'm just insane.  Or I've somehow confused it with another game. I think insanity may be edging it at the moment...

Er... is there no RPG element to the game?!?!? :shocked:  I can change it if there isn't!  I don't know what's happening to my brain, but it can't be good...

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #47 on: 14 Jan 2015, 12:01 »
I think insanity may be edging it at the moment...
Sanity is overrated anyway, no indie game developer can truly be normal and sane :)  I'm certainly not.

I guess that the hero choosing part and those Amiga-style visuals may indeed leave a slight RPG-ish impression. The game does tackle some common fantasy RPG tropes and cliches, but as far as the gameplay goes, it's still a standard point and click. If I started adding RPG bits like character stats and quest systems, it would probably just grow way over my head.

CaptainD

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #48 on: 14 Jan 2015, 12:22 »
Ah... maybe it was the visuals.  Or the heat.  Not that there is any heat around here atm...

I shall update accordingly.  But I still say your game looks awesome! :cheesy:

Cassiebsg

  • Cavefish
  • Fleeing the Cylon tyrrany...
    • Cassiebsg worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #49 on: 14 Jan 2015, 16:21 »
CaptainD, please keep your sanity!
I thought too it had some RPG stuff to it... most likely how it looks and Hobo writes his great stories.... (laugh)

Keep up the great work. (nod)
There are those who believe that life here began out there...

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #50 on: 24 Jan 2015, 12:03 »
Update 10 (24.01.2015) – It's not the size that matters...

When we set out, I knew this was going to be a long journey, but I never imagined that the distances would be so vast. We haven't even made it to the mountain yet, let alone started climbing it. Exactly how far is that damn thing anyway and when will we finally arrive? It feels like the village of Ystnaf and our first enthusiastic steps happened almost a lifetime ago.

Looking back towards the past we left behind, I see dozens of obvious shortcuts, useless stops and dangerous areas we could have avoided. I sometimes wonder if we would already be at the foot of the mountain if we had planned out a more thorough route or recruited a seasoned guide to help us out.

Still, we're steadily getting closer and Modnar is no longer a small dot on the horizon that I can just cover up with my thumb and ignore. It's there, it's real and staring us straight in the face, both inviting and mocking at the same time.


Now that the production of Kingdom of Ehcilc has already reached 2015, the whole scope of the game is finally starting to take shape. I've already mentioned that I'm aiming for a medium length game, which will provide at least an hour of fun, but if it turns out shorter than planned, then I wouldn't actually be too disappointed. I don't want to drag it out just for the sake of it and I'll try to avoid forcing in unnecessary filler content.

In its current state the game should end up with 14-16 playable backgrounds. I'm still unsure about some of them, but everything is laid out in such a manner that it's easy to add or cut some places if the story or puzzles should require so. Here are the layout plans I'm using at the moment:


Blue rectangles represent closed rooms (no free movement between them) and green ones are open (you can roam around freely). As you can see, the first few are linear and sort of on rails, so that the players can get accustomed to the story and objectives and then it opens up and gives them a larger area to explore.

As for objects and hotspots, then I just noticed the other day that I have unintentionally made almost everything (that is not a wall or floor) in the starting room interactable. Some smaller things are of course grouped together to avoid annoying pixel hunting, but that still means a total of 14 points of interest in a single room that you can use your four verbs on. Most of them are used for puzzle solving, others are there for either comedy or lore reasons. For example, there are a couple of books that you can read:


I'm going to write more about different characters and creatures in the next update, but right now I can tell you that there are currently 10 NPCs (that you can talk to or use for puzzles) in the game. I'm definitely planning to add more and just as with objects and hotspots, some characters are vital for the progression of the story, while others offer optional information about the world.

So, all the people with compulsive clicking disorders can breathe easily – there will be a reasonable amount of things to look at and click on. Also, most of these things will have a specific purpose with tailored individual responses and none of that one-for-all generic unhandled event crap.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #51 on: 24 Mar 2015, 17:10 »
Update 11 (24.03.2015) – Quite a character

While travelling through Ehcilc, I've noticed something strange – there is no evil in this world. There are no good or bad races or burning hatred between different ethnic groups, everyone are considered equal. Of course there's plenty of noble heroes and notorious criminals, but they're all evenly spread out among an incredibly diverse population and even the worst of the villains aren't really that bad, they're not truly malicious.

I grew up in predominantly human community far from the plains and mountains of Ehcilc and bedtime stories of vicious monsters and dark creatures was a pretty common thing. I haven't seen any of that in here. It seems that most Ehcilcians don't even grasp the concept of it, the concept of true evil and overwhelming fear.

Yeah, they fight and picker and get on each others nerves and there's lot's of cultural differences between the races that don't always translate well to others, but it's nothing too serious. Battles are fought in a civilized manner and many of the problems are actually solved with diplomacy and well-argumented discussions. Sometimes it feels like it's a bit too good to be true, though. Like there's something lurking beneath the surface and just waiting to burst out…



There will be a few other human characters in the game besides the heroes, but most of the world is inhabited by weird fantasy creatures, whose appearance is usually thematically stereotypical. Still, despite the looks, many of them have odd Ehcilcian quirks attached to them, which might make them feel a bit off or even backwards.

One of the most popular and well-known mythical beasts is probably the dragon and I've been thinking whether I should add one in the Ehcilc universe. There's actually a spot in the game where it would make sense and where it would fit, but that's not really the problem. While classic dragons can definitely be considered a cliché or a trope, they have also been averted a lot, even in adventure games. For example, there have been tiny dragons, fire fearing dragons, cowardly dragons etc. So, it's been hard to come up with good spin that would make a dragon unique and interesting enough to justify its inclusion in the game. But I have to admit that not all characters are so carefully planned out, some of them just happen randomly.

To save time and make drawing easier, I sometimes copy/paste together various pieces of similar backgrounds (like the cave sections) and then modify them to suit my needs and every now and then the results are unexpected.

 

The first image is a cutout from one of the backgrounds. On the second one you can see it duplicated, mirrored and put together. And with couple of little modifications we have a face of a stone guardian. I didn't originally plan to have a character like this in the game, but since it just kind of happened, then why not?

As mentioned in the previous update, some characters are vital to the story, while others offer optional lore and alternative solutions to puzzles. I'm currently trying to figure out the right balance for it and somehow make it obvious that there are certain characters that you don't have to talk to. This would probably be helpful for those players who don't enjoy long conversations or my style of writing and would rather skip all that.

Among other news, the production of the game was on pause for a while, since I was busy working on a MAGS game in February, but I'm now back at it and it's progressing steadily.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

AnasAbdin

  • Peace, Love and AGS
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #52 on: 24 Mar 2015, 19:11 »
The new characters are just amazing. I love Ehcilcian Medusa a lot! Good luck animating her hair (laugh)
Thanks for sharing the story of the birth of the stone guardian, believe it or not, game elements showing this way is more common than you think!
I can't wait to see more progress and of course the final product.

One day you can be sure to quote me on this:

~ Kingdom of Ehcilc will win several AGS awards ~

ThreeOhFour

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #53 on: 25 Mar 2015, 04:06 »
Not much to say except I am super excited to play this. Everything sounds good, everything looks great, keep up the progress! :cheesy:

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #54 on: 26 Mar 2015, 14:47 »
Keep going man! The game is looking awesome and your blog is an inspiration to read.

Loved the tale of the stone guardian and that he owes his very existence to the world's creator taking a few shortcuts ...Will his dialogue refer to this in some sly way? ;)

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #55 on: 26 Mar 2015, 18:24 »
Thanks guys, for bothering to read and comment.

I love Ehcilcian Medusa a lot! Good luck animating her hair
There are occasional "bad hair" days, but animating small details like this is probably my favorite part in making this game.
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
Will his dialogue refer to this in some sly way? ;)
Haven't written much dialogue for him yet, but that sounds like a really neat thing to slide in there somewhere (nod)

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #56 on: 11 Apr 2015, 18:10 »
Update 12 (11.04.2015) – More pixels! All new and shiny!

Sometimes you've been on the road for so long that it becomes all you know and sometimes you even lose sight of your original goals and destination. I've been talking a lot about reaching the mountain, but in fact that's only half of the journey, we also have to climb it.

On the other hand, this midway point is not that far away anymore and if we maintain the current good pace, we could reach it in a month. According to my maps, there's a small settlement somewhere at the bottom of valley between the steep flanks of the mountain range. I don't think anyone actually lives there, but I've heard that it serves as a meeting and resting place for adventurers and travellers from all over the kingdom. I suppose we can afford to make a longer stop there and maybe replenish our supplies and... but let's not get ahead of ourselves, we have to make it there first and then we'll see what fate has in store for us.



It's been about a year since the development of the game started. I made the AGS Games in Production announcement on April 19th and had been working on the graphics and making initial plans with Atavismus a few weeks before that.

A year might seem like a long time for a medium length low-res adventure game and it probably is, but I haven't really been doing it full-time. I don't work on it every day, sometimes I don't touch it for weeks and on couple occasions (during MAGS for example) the development was on hold for over a month. It's possible that I'll do another MAGS or just a random short game before finishing Ehcilc and I'm fine with it. To be honest, I'm not in that much of a hurry. It's still mainly a learning experience for me, an entertaining hobby that I enjoy when I have the time and will for it.

Since it's been a year, I've also gotten a bit better at pixelling and lately I've been experimenting with a somewhat new and more polished style (the image above). And before anyone asks, then no, I'm not reimagining or redrawing everything. I have actually deliberately left most of the backgrounds in a semi-finished state, because I knew that this whole thing was going to be a long process and I'll be more experienced and skilled in the later stages of the development.



To better suit the new style, I also added extra shading and antialiasing to the characters. In an earlier update I mentioned that the color count for characters was between 10-20. My new approach adds about 5-10 colors, so the change isn't actually that significant. In overall, I feel that all this is a step in the right direction and I hope that potential players will enjoy it too.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

MufasaRKG

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #57 on: 11 Apr 2015, 20:07 »
Your sprite  designs are gorgeous! I seen you been at this for a while. Very inspirational.

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #58 on: 13 Apr 2015, 14:16 »
Your sprite  designs are gorgeous! I seen you been at this for a while. Very inspirational.
Thanks, MufasaRKG. I've spent a fair amount of time on polishing and redesigning them, but I think I've finally reached the point where I'm mostly satisfied with the results. Animating them feels still pretty difficult though.


AnasAbdin

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #59 on: 17 Apr 2015, 08:56 »
Animating the sprites is my favorite part :-D

selmiak

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #60 on: 17 Apr 2015, 17:52 »



That snake lady is very attractive, I so want to meet her. Is there a puzzle involved that needs you feeding her snakes or taking off her cloths?

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #61 on: 17 Apr 2015, 21:17 »
You have some really nice art, good job! If the game is going to revolve around cliches in adventure games and in the classic fantasy settings you will have a lot of stuff to work with. Also, the setting and art reminded me a little bit of King's Quest, which is nice. Or maybe I just like KQ too much and keep seeing it everywhere... Anyway, I'm looking forward to your game, good luck!
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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #62 on: 23 Apr 2015, 20:14 »
Is there a puzzle involved that needs you feeding her snakes or taking off her cloths?
I have some puzzle ideas worked out, but no, there will be no "feeding the snake" (wrong) This is a family-friendly adventure, there's no room for R-rated pixel boobs (unless you're wearing a special x-ray monocle, of course :-D).

@Davi Vasc: Yes, I chose this setting, because there's endless amount of material to work with and a lot of freedom for creativity. As for King's Quest, then there might be some similar silly humour and scenery, but definitely no fairytale themes or getting killed all the time.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #63 on: 01 Aug 2015, 14:14 »
Update 13 (01.08.2015) – Behind the scenes

We arrived in Telmah (the small settlement I mentioned in my last entry) a bit later than we planned, but at least we made it here safely and without any major incidents. These past weeks we've been mainly resting, gathering provisions and socializing with other adventurers. Everything I had heard about the place is true, it's a real goldmine for those seeking knowledge, advice and equipment. There are dozens of people coming and going every day, each with their own incredible story or unique possessions.

I'd say that in some ways we've reached a midpoint of our journey. Not really in the sense of time, because I'm expecting the second half to pass much faster, but in the sense of tasks accomplished and lessons learned. And thanks to all the experience we've been grinding during our travels and the help we've gotten from our fellow adventurers in Telmah, I feel much more prepared and ready for the upcoming climb.


As the title of this update already implies, I'm going to share some things that could be classified as behind the scenes information. For instance, have you ever wondered what exactly is hidden under all that external razzle-dazzle and what's really going on inside the parts of a game that you never see?

Let's start with graphics and backgrounds. Anyone who's ever made a game already knows that time and resource management is the most important thing. This is why I never bother drawing a background behind an object or character that never moves. Most of the time I just leave it empty, but lately I've been noticing that these forgotten places are starting to magically fill up. Usually with plain ones and zeros or  mischievous goblins, but every once in while I stumble upon some really weird stuff, like surprised manfaces with mustaches and bowties or creepy kittens. It sure as hell doesn't get boring with them pixels, you plug an useless black hole and it starts to live a life of its own.


I haven't written much about scripting in my past updates and that's mostly because I'm not doing anything extraordinary or revolutionary with the script, it's your standard, everyday AGS stuff. For more complicated parts I usually rely on pre-made AGS scripts and modules or ask Atavismus to help me out. For example, the 4-verb GUI system comes from an old unfinished game attempt by Cino, I've found a place for abstauber's CustomDialogGui and there are various parts of Lemonhead's Extended ALARCOST  template all over the script. I'm also experimenting with few other modules and the AGS forum search function has always been an endless source of solutions. The game is still being developed in AGS 3.2.1, but I might upgrade to a newer AGS version, if it should become necessary for some reason.



I'm actually planning to release an open source version of  the game at some point. So, all you AGS nerds will have plenty of time and opportunity to browse and drool over these unoptimized and clunky elseifs then. Most of the code is (more or less) reasonably commented for my own purposes, but I guess it could be helpful for someone who's starting their first AGS project.


In addition to source files, this so-called deluxe version will also include bunch of development materials, a selection of early and unused game graphics, a bit of Ehcilc lore and other similar behind the scenes goodies. It will most likely go up on itch.io in a pay-what-you-want format, which means that all this extra stuff is still free, but you'll have an opportunity to support the developers, if you get something useful and worthwhile from it all.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

Stupot

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #64 on: 01 Aug 2015, 16:46 »
Coming along nicely, man. Keep it up :-)

AnasAbdin

  • Peace, Love and AGS
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #65 on: 01 Aug 2015, 19:35 »
I'm afraid to ask about the confusing screeny cos I don't want any spoilers (laugh)

Really loving where this is going! And I super love the code snap ;-D

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #66 on: 01 Aug 2015, 20:13 »
Thanks for reading and commenting Stupot+ and AnasAbdin.

I'm afraid to ask about the confusing screeny cos I don't want any spoilers (laugh)
No spoilers attached. All the weird things on bottom screens are part of the background images, but you won't be able to see them in the actual game, because they're covered up by objects and characters (oh, the goblin is an exeption, he's an actual character). However, since I'm going to release the source, you can see that stuff there. I guess it's sort of an easter egg type of thing.

AnasAbdin

  • Peace, Love and AGS
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #67 on: 01 Aug 2015, 21:41 »
Ugh this is a higher level of Easter eggs to me!
This is making me act like a little kid (laugh) About the source code release, I will never peek under the skirt of the kingdom sorry :P
« Last Edit: 01 Aug 2015, 21:47 by AnasAbdin »

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #68 on: 25 Jan 2016, 18:12 »
Back at it

Hmm... 2016. Years may go by, but you can always rely on good old Kingdom of Ehcilc to be still in production. Well, not really actually. I'm about 99 percent sure that the game will be released in 2016. Despite the lack of updates and any real development during the past 6 months, things are still slowly moving forward all the time. I've been occasionally tweaking the backgrounds a bit and making some small animations, I've figured out the story and fleshed out the characters. So, the world of Ehcilc is basically finished in my head and the characters are ready to jump into action, I just need to capture their essence into a pixelated sprite and start inserting them into the game.

Here's what the background tweaks look like:



And some of the animations, I've been working on:

                       


I'll be back to my regular travel journal type updates in a week or two, but until then don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

AnasAbdin

  • Peace, Love and AGS
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #69 on: 26 Jan 2016, 06:07 »
Great tweaking you've done there ;-D I like what you did with the mountains and the far greens.
The characters look amazing. This Kingdom will bring a lot of great childhood times back :)

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #70 on: 11 Feb 2016, 18:27 »
Update 14 (11.02.2016) - Tales of paths

After all this time of traveling, all the places I've visited and people I've met, Ehcilc still keeps surprising me with its diverse culture and interesting approaches. This time I've absolutely fallen in love with a particular genre of Ehcilcian folktales. I don't really know how to properly call them or if they even have an official classification, but occasionally I've heard the locals refer to them as tales of paths. They're usually told in very quiet settings and meant for fewer ears. Not because they're inappropriate or offensive or anything like that, but because of the manner they are told.

Almost all the stories of this type begin at a crossroads and present the audience a choice to start moving in any desired direction. As the tale progresses, the storyteller often turns towards the public and asks seemingly rhetorical questions, makes witty remarks or uses over-exaggerated body language. While doing all that, the narrator is actually paying close attention to the slightest of feedback and then shifts the tone and mood of the tale according to listeners' reactions.

Depending on the skill of the storyteller and the range of emotions, a simple narrative can often be told with so many unique and personalized variations that it can almost feel like a whole new story. And on those rare occasions, when everything falls perfectly in place, it's very hard to tell if the story belongs to the listeners or to the creator.



I'm the sort of person who often enjoys the journey just as much or even more than the actual destination. This applies to both how I play and develop video games and this is also how I approach Kingdom of Ehcilc. I already mentioned alternative puzzle solutions in update 9, where I discussed the 4-verb GUI, and I'm going to continue along those lines.

First of all, despite the choices you can make at the beginning and over the course of the game, there's actually only one ending (with minor aesthetic adjustments). You can explore and take different small paths along the way, but the basic framework of the story remains always more or less the same.

For example, let's take the image above. There's a locked stone chest on the left side of the cave and it can be opened in three different ways - by brute force/magic, with reasonable amount of intelligence or you can think outside the box and make use of the tools available to the player. The end result, however, is always the same – you open the chest and while your method might cause some minor consequences, it will not affect the overall storyline or the endgame.

Do these choices really matter then, do they serve a purpose? I think they do, because they're not there to increase the replay value or create an alternative storyline. They allow you to customize your gaming experience and offer different ways of playing. If people don't enjoy minigames or moon logic puzzles, then they can just skip those and try other solutions.

Similar sort of variety can be found among the characters. There are some NPCs that pay attention to your actions and act accordingly. They're not placed in Ehcilc to be puzzles or help you solve a specific puzzle, they just happen to live there and depending on your interactions they may help you out or put a spoke in your wheel.

I probably don't have the skills or experience to apply this design philosophy throughout the whole game and there will still be plenty of linear roads, one solution situations and static characters, but every now and then I'll try to throw in something that makes the players feel that this is not something that they have to do, but something they choose to do.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #71 on: 21 Jul 2017, 22:10 »
Riddle me this!

Hey! Do you enjoy puzzles and riddles? How about annoying questions? Well, I think I've got something in between. To jump start this devlog, I've made a little memory refreshing quiz for all those, who have bothered to read my updates in the past and don't mind a little bit of backtracking.

And here come the questions (with hints in the spoiler tags and answers at end):

1) In update 5, the title of the update includes a simple numerical code for a word related to the game. What's the word?
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
numbers are letters

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
it's a 6 letter word 5 8 3 9 12 3
2) In update 6, the word colors is composed of 6 colors, but there's a color missing. Which one?
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
they're meant to be the colors of a natural phenomena

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
you might find the answer at the end of the rainbow
3) In update 8, the number of frames in the title animation with a bird is...?
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
make a bold guess, ± 10 frames is completely acceptable

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
use a .gif compatible animation software to find out
4) In update 12, there's something written on the merchant's stand. What is it?
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
look with your mind's eye

Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
I have no idea myself actually, it's intangible

Answers:
Add spoiler tag for Hidden:
1 – ehcilc
2 – I'd say indigo, but also accept violet
3 – 127
4 – all answers are correct


Good luck with the questions and normal updates will resume soon. Very soon.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #72 on: 23 Jul 2017, 20:42 »
Update 15 (23.07.2017) - One man's trash is another man's treasure

The other day we stumbled upon a weary but talkative traveler, who was very eager to share her campfire and vast collection of tales. One of those legends rekindled an old forgotten memory of mine.

It was an obscure myth about a hidden room deep in the mountains, full of unseen treasures and magical artifacts. As in most of these stories, it was of course guarded by a dragon. I had heard a slightly less detailed version of the story before and even looked more into it at one point to see if there's any truth behind it, but because of the lack of any substantial evidence and few conflicting facts, I quickly dismissed it as a silly fable.

However, this new and improved interpretation of the place made me curious once again. And maybe, just maybe, there really is more to it...



The biggest change for Kingdom of Ehcilc this year has probably been the long-due migration from AGS 3.2.1 to 3.4, but that's a topic for another day. Right now, Id like to break open the doors of the treasure chamber.

As some of you might have already guessed, there are trophies in the game or rather a trophy room with all sorts of awards for superficial accomplishments and meaningless tasks. Does anyone remember the throne room from Civilization II? Yes? No? Vaguely? Well, there will be something similar to that in Ehcilc. Your den of goodies will start out as an relatively empty room (see above) and whenever you accomplish something, a new item will appear.

These valuables could be pieces of furniture, various statues, weapons, jewelry etc. I haven't worked out all the little details yet, but most of these items will probably be in-game objects that players can interact with and I'll throw in a few additional custom sprites that represent more abstract achievements.



This feature will functionally be more or less useless and I doubt it's even good for bragging rights, but it fits the theme of the game and who knows, maybe some obsessive hoarders will even squeeze some drops of satisfaction out of it. It's going to be completely optional and I'll try to be as subtle as possible with the notifications and obviously allow them to be turned off.

As a lot of other aspects in this game, the trophy system is an experiment for me, it allows me to test the AGS engine and take a look at people's reactions to different design choices. I'm actually not a huge fan of achievement systems myself, but I'm curious to see, whether it adds any replay value and encourages some players to explore more or try out alternative solutions.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

AnasAbdin

  • Peace, Love and AGS
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #73 on: 23 Jul 2017, 21:56 »
Interesting update.

The biggest change for Kingdom of Ehcilc this year has probably been the long-due migration from AGS 3.2.1 to 3.4, but that's a topic for another day.

I am very curious about this migration and its effect on the production of the project. So please make that "another day" come as quick as possible please ???

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #74 on: 24 Jul 2017, 22:24 »
It was actually a pretty smooth transition, not much to talk about. However, the scripting in Ehcilc is very basic, there are no fancy scripts or modules that would break. I'll write about it in a week or two.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #75 on: 24 Jul 2017, 22:36 »
Cool news! Good to see you back around these parts. :)  Title always makes me laugh. >D

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #76 on: 24 Jul 2017, 23:12 »
Thanks, SilverSpook, it feels good to write about the game again. The title was actually a completely random ah-it's-fine-enough choice, but I do sometimes wonder how people pronounce Ehcilc, I have no idea myself :)

ClickClickClick

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #77 on: 25 Jul 2017, 00:13 »
Something like "e-silk"

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #78 on: 25 Jul 2017, 03:13 »
Something like "e-silk"

Haha, that's exactly how I've been saying it. :)

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #79 on: 26 Jul 2017, 10:03 »
Nice update.  Sounds interesting.

I pronounce it Ehh-Kilk.

horusr

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Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #80 on: 26 Jul 2017, 10:28 »
Like this

Khris

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    • Khris worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #81 on: 26 Jul 2017, 11:17 »
I'll henceforth pronounce it eshilk, given the word's origin.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #82 on: 26 Jul 2017, 18:19 »
I pronounce it Ehh-Kilk.
Yeah, I guess that's what I was leaning towards (in Estonian at least), but I'm actually fine with all of these options. It's a made-up word in a fictional fantasy universe, no rules here :)

And thanks to everyone for reading and commenting.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #83 on: 22 Aug 2017, 22:34 »
Update 16  (22.08.2017) – The surprisingly uneventful migration of the game called Ehcilc

When we started this journey, I proudly declared that we're going to take on Mount Modnar and reach the top of the kingdom. Well, we tried and we failed. Was it the rough weather conditions, poor equipment, overconfidence or naivety? It doesn't matter. What matters is that the mountain is still there, clouds and darkness circling around, towering higher than ever. It's waiting for us, calling us back. And we still want to conquer it, we're getting on top of that mountain, one way or another. New tools, reorganized plans and rekindled motivation. This time, we're not backing down.


As mentioned in the last update, one of the most notable changes for Ehcilc this year was the migration from AGS 3.2.1 to 3.4. If I had to describe it with one word, I'd say it was smooth, but there's actually a little bit more to it, because I used this opportunity to restructure most of the scripts and throw out some dead weight. I wasn't only updating the engine, but also making everything cleaner and more logical for my non-programmer brain.

Thanks to the great work of Crimson Wizard and other contributors, the engine seems to be fully backwards compatible and had I left the script compatibility level setting alone, I probably could have continued without any errors or changes at all. But since I was already rewriting some of the scripts, I decided to up that one as well.

This created some very minor issues (mainly the ProcessClick error), but nothing significant. I let the engine do its checks, followed the error reports, fixed and tested them and everything seemed to be working perfectly fine. No lingering problems, no hassle. It should be mentioned though, that the game doesn't use any plug-ins and all my scripts are rather basic and simple. So, I wasn't really expecting anything to break anyway.


The first noticeable improvements that I instantly benefited from were the all the removed engine limits. For example, I use a GUI to portray the treasury and because they were limited to only 30 controls, I ended up creating a lumped together dual-GUI monstrosity to have room for all the sweet trophies.

I'm also enjoying the enhanced compatibility and setup features, some new useful script commands, various usability tweaks and probably lots of other little things that I haven't had time to fully explore or don't even know about. If someone is still contemplating about upgrading their old AGS project, I recommend you make some backups, grab a big blue cup of your favorite beverage and give it try.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #84 on: 08 Oct 2017, 17:42 »
Update 17 (08.10.2017) – Options on the menu

I've been packing up my new equipment for the next climb and there's a lot. Maybe I've even gone slightly overboard with it. I mean, do I really need all this junk? For example, this repellent for undead Ehcilcian platypuses or this spell that turns all food into cheese. Well, I guess they might come in handy... And even if I myself don't need them, then perhaps someone else does. Adventuring is a very unpredictable business and you can never know what waits around the corner. The more options, the better. Yes, it is decided! I'm taking it all!


I feel that a lot of AGS games don't really use the full potential of the engine when it comes to allowing players to customize their gaming experience. I guess it's perfectly understandable for short and free projects, but most of the commercial releases also seem to be rather barren in that department.

I don't actually even mean anything elaborate, but basic stuff like separate volume sliders, a reasonable amount of save slots or options to change your text reading and walking speeds. Maybe it's a personal kink of mine and others don't really care about it, but I've always appreciated games that let me map my own keys and make small tweaks to the user interface.

Well, the world of Ehcilc is all about making different choices and I think it would be very fitting if this was also reflected in the options menu. I definitely want the game to have more sliders and buttons to fiddle around with than your average point-and-click adventure.



Among other things, I'm planning to add rebindable keys for the verb commands, mouse button switching and a possibility to change the font colors to improve readability in certain areas. Also, you can either settle with the default verb bar/inventory window combo or pick the fancier version visible above.

A number of potential little features that I'd like to have probably won't get implemented because of my lacking programming skills and the design decisions I made at the beginning of the development process, but I'm sure I'll find a place for them in my future projects. I know that all this means extra work and effort, but if it makes my games more accessible and user friendly even for one more person, then it's certainly worth it for me.

Thank you for reading and please don't be shy to post comments, argue or ask questions.

AnasAbdin

  • Peace, Love and AGS
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #85 on: 08 Oct 2017, 20:09 »
First of, I don't know how I missed your previous update! I apologize me bad :-[
Your backgrounds are amazing and they make me feel.. I can't draw :(

About the user customisation and control, I think the more the merrier. And later when people start playing you'll know that you did the right thing.

Keep up the good work (nod)

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #86 on: 09 Oct 2017, 17:26 »
The options menu in Don't Worry, I'll Bring The Beer was great, this one looks even better! Making options menus might not be fun, but I'm always grateful when developers put time and effort to create them.

I like the look of the game, best of luck with the development!

Gurok

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    • I can help with AGS tutoring
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    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2016, for improving and extending the AGS scripting language
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    • I can help with scripting
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    • Gurok worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Gurok worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #87 on: 12 Oct 2017, 04:25 »
I don't actually even mean anything elaborate, but basic stuff like separate volume sliders, a reasonable amount of save slots or options to change your text reading and walking speeds. Maybe it's a personal kink of mine and others don't really care about it, but I've always appreciated games that let me map my own keys and make small tweaks to the user interface.

Yes, this is really important, particularly in the context of people playing on devices with different capabilities. It can also help to make your game accessible to people with disabilities.

At first I was thinking, who would want to turn off v-sync? But you might perhaps be playing on a low-spec machine or a high refresh rate monitor where v-sync might interfere.

Good use of tabs in the dialogue too. I'd like to see what's on the remaining tabs.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #88 on: 12 Oct 2017, 19:07 »
I still love the art, and now I can also say I love the attention to detail in options.  Often in games, I want to turn down the music without turning down the sounds and speech.  Sometimes it's because the audio mix isn't right, other times its because I just want to listen to some other music while I play, and still other times, I just want it nice and quiet.  So anyways, thanks for creating additional options sliders for this game.  I'm sure I will use them when I play.

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #89 on: 14 Oct 2017, 10:54 »
It's good to see that there are people who appreciate more options, makes me feel that I'm moving in the right direction with this.

I apologize me bad :-[ Your backgrounds are amazing and they make me feel.. I can't draw :(
What a silly thing to apologize for :) And I think you got it the other way around, every time I see you posting those quality updates with awesome animations, I always think that I still have a long way to go as an artist.

The options menu in Don't Worry, I'll Bring The Beer was great, this one looks even better!
The menu in Don't Worry, I'll Bring The Beer was actually pretty basic by my standards. I was limited by the 64x64 pixel resolution, so I didn't really have the screen space for more stuff. Ehcilc will definitely be a major improvement in this area.

...devices with different capabilities. It can also help to make your game accessible to people with disabilities.
Yes, accessibility and flexibility are my main goals here. As someone who uses a relatively old laptop, it feels always nice when there are settings in games that suit better with my low-end specs.
The remaining tabs are mostly still a work in progress, but I'll be sure to share them in a future update.

Thanks to everyone who found the time to read this, I'll try to get another one up in a couple of weeks.
« Last Edit: 15 Oct 2017, 12:17 by Hobo »

Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #90 on: 15 Oct 2017, 10:05 »
The menu in Don't Worry, I'll Bring The Beer was actually pretty basic by my standards.
For a full-length game I would agree, but for one that can be played in 5 minutes, the options available were much better than I expected. ;) Especially considering the lacklustre customisation options you often find in commercial games. And, as I said, this menu looks much better. I like the tabbed interface and I always appreciate having rebindable keys!

Uhfgood

  • No pain, no game!
Re: Kingdom of Ehcilc
« Reply #91 on: 23 Oct 2017, 04:30 »
It's really cool to see the progress.  How did you go about writing your story, was it just some trial and error thing where you wrote down some game tropes and then built a world around them.  Did you do a whole 3-act structure kind of thing, and write out everything as a walk through first?  Or did you put down some plot points and then tried to fill in with some puzzles?  What was that process like?