Author Topic: Kingdom of Ehcilc  (Read 31341 times)

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

  • Onions? Give me back my onions!
    • miguel worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
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

  • Cavefish
  • Mittens Vassal
  • Mittens Half Initiate
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
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

  • Peace, Love and AGS
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

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
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

  • Amiga Rulez!
    • Atavismus worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
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.