Exilian

Exilian Projects => Computer Game Development - The Indie Alley => Topic started by: WarpDogsVG on May 24, 2017, 07:43:07 PM

Title: [KICKSTARTER: 30% FUNDED!] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on May 24, 2017, 07:43:07 PM
Kickstarter

---> Help me build a village! Back Village Monsters on Kickstarter <--- (http://'https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/389391560/village-monsters-a-monstrous-life-sim-game')

(https://i.imgur.com/2rV05eE.png)

Trailer


(https://i.imgur.com/RHL57os.gif)

Quick Info
Release: October 2018 for PC / Mac / Linux
Genre: Life Sim
Alpha Demo: http://warpdogs.com/were-release/ (http://warpdogs.com/were-release/)
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/VillageMonsters (http://www.twitter.com/VillageMonsters)
Good Vibes?: Yes
Monsters?: Absolutely

(https://i.imgur.com/v5BRnfw.gif)

Summary
Have you ever wondered what happens inside the world of an abandoned video game? All those NPCs with their artificial lives...what do they do after the game is turned off for that final time?

Village Monsters is a relaxing life sim game set in one such world.

You play as someone booting up the game for the first time in decades only to discover that it is nothing like you remember.

The monsters that were once enemies have thrown away their weapons and have settled down in a peaceful village that they created.
Stranger still, they're inviting you to come join them.

(https://i.imgur.com/01CR4nE.gif)

(https://i.imgur.com/jdbP9SU.gif)

(https://i.imgur.com/lbfPQ1Q.gif)


(https://i.imgur.com/398JWUF.gif)

(https://i.imgur.com/jOmymAV.gif)

(https://i.imgur.com/43g66x7.gif)

(https://i.imgur.com/fAvaiNW.gif)
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on May 24, 2017, 11:54:02 PM
Welcome to Exilian, great to meet you :)

I'll have a go at the prototype soon and let you know what I think - looks very interesting. And also how I play games *anyway* - I'm the sort of person who will be playing full-on mass killing strategy games and then go off and try and spend the time sheep farming instead because it's more fun, so this very much appeals to me :P
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on May 25, 2017, 01:23:18 PM
Right, had an initial wander round and met some characters, all very good fun and it had a nice look & feel to it: good job :)

Notes

Bug reports
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on May 26, 2017, 05:54:22 AM
Right, had an initial wander round and met some characters, all very good fun and it had a nice look & feel to it: good job :)

Notes
  • Keyboard controls were confusing, and even for a pre-alpha a brief explanation would be good. The A and S keys appeared to do some things with the handheld+ items, but also be movement keys? I also seem to be able to scroll left through my inventory slots with the left arrow but not back right again. I know it's more designed for a gamepad, but I think you will need to have a full keyboard control set as well: I don't own a gamepad and I suspect a lot of other potential target audience won't either.
  • Really like the range of characters, and the style/theming is definitely fun.
  • Does the completable compendium mentioned in your notes exist yet/if so how is it accessed?
  • It felt odd that I could walk through some things that I expected to be solid (barrels most notably).

Bug reports
  • I got the following error message & crash after talking to the blob chef once, then trying talking to it again.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
  • Postbox text should start "if you had some mail"
  • Got stuck on the island with the chests - my raft ended up glitching onto land somehow so I couldn't get away again.

Thanks for playing and providing such good feedback! I checked my logs and I'm pretty sure all the bugs you saw are fixed in the new release (which'll drop sometime in July). In fact, July's release is shaping up to be a proper 'alpha' in the sense that it'll be much more stable and contain more finished versions of every system and feature.

Tomorrow I hope to share a dev diary for one of the many hobbies you can partake in - critter catching!
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on May 26, 2017, 10:23:59 PM
Cool, look forward to seeing more :)
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on May 31, 2017, 02:15:01 AM
I'm a bit (very!) late on posting this developer diary, but here it is: Catching Critters in Village Monsters

(http://i.imgur.com/cGg7rdx.png)

You’ll notice I’m careful not to call it ‘bug catching’, and the reason is simple: you’ll be hunting and catching far more than bugs.

Sure, you’ll still catch the familiar and mundane Monarch Butterfly, or the less familiar but equally mundane Caeser Butterfly, but there are far more fantastical things to hunt out there.

Mountain gnomes, snow elementals, and even sentient loofahs (??) are all out there to just waiting to be caught.

(http://i.imgur.com/gQObxJY.gif)

But there is a 3rd category for creatures that don’t fit with either the mundane or the fantastic - they are called the misfects. Through data corruption and other mysterious forces, these previously normal creatures have been transformed during the long years of abandonment.

There’s the pitiful Half-Hopper, a frog that appears to only contain half of the normally necessary body parts. There’s also this strange snake-like creature that grows, dies, becomes reborn, and then starts the process again.

But uncovering creature variety is only half of the fun of this hobby - the other half is actually catching them.

The Village Monster calendar contains 4 seasons spread across 8 months, and each critter has their own seasonal appearances. Some have further requirements before they appear - like different weather, the presence of a certain item, or even specific world events like holidays.

In terms of actually catching them, the standard tool will be the bug net. You can upgrade your bug net, but the real powerful abilities come in the form of glitch powers.

(http://i.imgur.com/O6VjyHR.gif)

Pretty crazy, right? Well, remember those misfects I talked about? More than simple creatures were affected by the data corruption, and not every glitch is bad.

As you catch critters you’ll earn experience - but the ‘experience’ will be your character mastering how the mechanic works within the game itself. This in turn allows you to unlock various glitch powers to bend said mechanics to your will - like the above Bug Net Buzzsaw.

I’m not going to go too crazy with creature behaviors. For the most part they’ll be lumped in three simple categories - indifferent, fearful, and secretive. Fearful critters will get spooked and you’ll need to give chase to catch them, while secretive critters will need to be lured out first.

(http://i.imgur.com/U7POlMi.png)
This renowned big game hunter, Blunder Buzz, sponsors a critter hunting tournament each season

Each critter will have a unique description or - if applicable - backstory that you can learn if you bring it to the Historical Society. Some even come with some very special abilities - remember Snow Elemental above? Well, rumor says that it’s been known to summon entire blizzards to hide in when it’s especially fearful…perhaps there are other creatures with equally interesting abilities?
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on June 01, 2017, 12:30:30 AM
Nice, I particularly love the snake referencing monster :) The half-hopper is a rather creepy idea, though one I like; are you planning to make the glitch stuff a fairly core part of the game and its story/plots?

Also, our May newsletter just came out and you may see some screenshots you recognise! :) (http://exilian.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=5166)
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on June 01, 2017, 10:33:53 PM
That's awesome, man! That's really cool to see.

Yeah, I'd say the whole glitch angle will be central to a lot of the game, but I don't want to be too heavyhanded with it, either. The closest analogy I can think of is something like Animal Crossing - in that game you join a village of talking animals, which is also strange, but the game never really lingers on it or references it too heavily. That's what I'm hoping for as well.

Anyway, I have a new screenshot to share. I'm not artist and I recognize this limitation with myself, so the style I've selected is purposefully cartoony and flat - I'd say the Mother / Earthbound series are the biggest sources of inspiration there. That said, this flat style has the unfortunate side effect of making everything look very samey.

This last week or so I've been working on rectifying that problem. I've adjusted some of the colors, added shadows, new flowers and 'wind swaying' to both flowers and grass, and overall added a bunch more tile variety. There's still lots to work on, but I'm pretty happy with where it's at compared to what I had before!

(http://i.imgur.com/2jxMWXp.gif)
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on June 05, 2017, 12:45:47 AM
Yes that does look nice, well done :) I know the feeling regarding art, my own adventure game (which is going into beta soon) is mostly very bad static pixel art in a primarily text-based engine...

Will you do some minor anim for the trees? It feels like if there's a breeze sufficient to blow the flowers, it ought to move smaller branches/leaves around too.
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on June 07, 2017, 10:21:39 PM
I was thinking about it, but I'm having a hard time 'realistically' moving trees, at least in the style I chose. I may experiment with some things to see what works

Different weather types will be a big part of the game, and it would seem pretty odd if the grass and flowers are going crazy in a thundertorm but trees are just sitting there
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on June 12, 2017, 11:03:13 PM
Yeah, let me know how it goes, I look forward to seeing the results. :)
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on June 18, 2017, 09:51:50 PM
Another week has gone by, and that means another version of the (newly renamed) Dev Diary Digest!

Without really meaning to this week followed a consistent theme - ensuring that every day (in the game!) feels different, or unique, or interesting, or surprising. That's been a mantra of mine since I first started, and I'm increasingly in the position to make good on it

(http://i.imgur.com/Czb7Xui.png)

First up, I changed the merchant around so its stock changes each day. I also split up the show floor so he sell both furniture and normal items now.


(http://i.imgur.com/AjyvS0b.png)

Speaking of daily refreshes, similar to Animal Crossing there'll be a number of things that reset each day. For example, each day a number of 'diggable spots' spawn around town that you can find treasure, monster fossils, minerals, and other goodies. These spots used to be marked by a simple 'x', but this week I changed it up so that each category of items gets its own unique icon: treasure looks like a half-buried treasure chest, fossils look like half-buried bones, and minerals look like a half-buried rock


(http://i.imgur.com/F6decAU.gif)

Next up, I added a bunch more 'atmospheric animals' (which is a bad name). Unlike other critters, these animals are mundane and cannot be caught or donated, and they are mostly ambivalent to the player. They exist purely to add flavor and atmosphere to the village as you walk around each day. Like critters, the types of animals you'll see differ based on time of day, weather, and season

Games these days typically achieve things like atmosphere and 'sense of place' via a strong or unique art style. It should be clear by now that I'm no artist, so I'm hoping to accomplish the sense of place by focusing on the little things and attention to detail.

For example, every so often you'll see a bird fly overhead...

(http://i.imgur.com/KrWmNLW.gif)

But in the fall, things change slightly - instead of flying north, they fly south...

(http://i.imgur.com/ALWJlq0.gif)

Again, it's a small thing, something that most folks won't notice, but I want my game filled with these things to give it a realistic feel and personality


(http://i.imgur.com/UdghY0x.gif)
I don't just want each day to feel different - I also want each time of day to have its own 'feel'. The main way I'm accomplishing this is by giving villagers their own schedules (TBD) and having unique hourly music (also TBD), but I also want activities, both big and small, to change based on the time, season, and weather.

For example, the above campfire is a good place to hang out and roast some food, but it's only available at night during the warmer seasons

In general, each day I want the player to wake up, check their calendar & weather report, and feel excited about the possibilities of the day. Oh, it's clear tonight - that means the campfire will be open! Oh, it's raining this morning - I bet I can catch that rare fish! And so on.


(http://i.imgur.com/ZQeR3P7.png)

Finally, I want to share a WIP behind-the-scenes thing - my design doc for the yearly calendar. I'll have more to say as it becomes more fleshed out and finalized, but you'll notice that there are 8 months (2 for each season) and that most weeks have 1-2 events or holidays to look forward to.

This might sound obvious, but what's the best way to make a day feel unique and different? Make it a special holiday with unique activities, themes, music, and more. I'll have a lot of them!
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on June 18, 2017, 10:58:31 PM
Lovely :) I think you could do with slowing the birds down - I think I'd feel startled mostly if something that fast shot across my screen - but they're a very nice touch.

Is your intention that every player on every playthrough can do more or less all these things, or not? I guess that's one of the design issues here - how much decision-making and development there is for the character. I tend to like having a lot of customisation but also feeling that I *can't* necessarily do and get everything; forcing players to choose can stop things being overwhelming, which is a risk when you have a game that's really packed with content.
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on June 19, 2017, 09:42:31 PM
Hah, definitely don't want to startle with the birds - good advice, I'll slow 'em down.

That's an interesting question regarding the actual consumption of content. My original vision for the game back when I first started on it was that there would be two very distinct choices whenever you started a new day - it would either be a 'village day' where you hung out, did chores, shopping, etc., or it'd be an 'exploration day' in which you spent time outside of the town. I thought it would be interesting to give the player almost *too much* to do in a single day which in turn would make their choices feel meaningful

Buuuut, as the game came together I took more and more of that stuff out until the whole exploration bits disappeared entirely. It just felt too stressful to the player to make them miss out on content all the time, and it triggered some major feelings of 'fear of missing out' in me

My solution to this has been to design the game around short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals include things like "I want to go fishing", or "I want to rearrange my house", or "I want to attend this event". In general, you'll be able to do everything you want to in a given day, so long as you manage it well enough.

The choice comes from the long-term goals, which include things like "I want to complete my fishing collection" or "I want the largest house". It will not be possible to accomplish every single long-term goal in your first year by virtue of the fact that there simply won't be enough time in the day to do everything

The nice thing about having a cyclical game (meaning the calendar wraps back around to spring) is that for the hardcore players that do want to see and do everything, they can - they just need to put in more time. In general, the game will be tuned for that initial year so that the average player can experience everything the game has to offer, with subsequent years being available to catch up on things they missed or try something new entirely
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on June 23, 2017, 11:53:48 PM
OK, so a fairly sandboxy style overall, essentially - that sounds nice :)

Could you/will you have some sort of metagame achievements system? That might help direct players through trying different new games and bits of content; they'll be drawn to things they might not have tried in order to get the achievement for doing so.
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on June 26, 2017, 06:24:34 PM
Another week has gone by, and that means another version of the Dev Diary Digest! It's a bit late this time around, but hopefully you won't hold that against me.

This week was a quiet one full of mostly back-end changes - a better collision system, lots of bug fixes, etc.

There are just 2 weeks left before the last pre-alpha demo is released on July 9th (with the first alpha demo coming out in September), so it's been a balance of cramming in as much new content as I can while also making sure it's not a jumbled technical mess.

Still, I do have a few things to share!

(http://i.imgur.com/8oD0iw9.gif)

I spent a fair amount of time this week re-iterating over a few buildings in the village as well as creating new ones.

This'll be part of the overarching narrative, but the monsters didn't actually create this village - they found it. As such, the overall design goal of the village itself is a mishmash of re-purposed buildings + new buildings the monsters created.

In the above gif you can see a church, a log cabin built by a Harpy-turned-carpenter, and the ramshackle town hall.


(http://i.imgur.com/5AAbk0j.gif)

Slowly but surely I've also been adding more and more furniture to the game. Another design goal is to have it so that every furniture piece has some way to interact with it, even if it's very small like spinning the globe.


(http://i.imgur.com/Qvpf6gL.gif)

Finally, after some feedback from last week I've decided to add some basic idle animations to the villagers. Because everything is so in flux I don't want to spend too much time animating something that I might need to scrap and redo entirely, but I figure a little bit of animation is better than no animation at all.

(you can also see me get frustrated with that darn Sun Fly for getting in the way of my shot)
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on June 26, 2017, 11:54:13 PM
The idle anims definitely make things look better, though I think the up-down movement on the shoulders may be too great or perhaps too fast in many cases - slowing it down might make it feel like a more normal breathing speed? I like things like the spinning globe a lot, they're nice touches :)
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on June 27, 2017, 09:24:02 PM
You know it's funny, I didn't think it was too fast but you're the 3rd person to say so! I guess I envisioned it more bouncing with than breathing, but I went ahead and slowed it down by a couple frames per second.

To answer your other question, there will be achievements, but one of the biggest ways I'll be guiding the player is via the Compendium, a log of sorts to keep track of people you've met, critters you've caught, and so on. Filling out the compendium will be an incentive on its own, but it'll also help the player know what's available to do

Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on June 27, 2017, 10:47:50 PM
It's always nice when multiple people give the same feedback on things, I find - definite pointers are always nicer than people pulling in every direction! :)
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on July 04, 2017, 12:40:57 AM
(http://i.imgur.com/e37DCQW.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/e37DCQW.gif')

Another week has gone by, and that means another version of the Dev Diary Digest! It's late again, but that's because I've been busting my butt off. Lots to share today, so let's go to it.

(http://i.imgur.com/WSFgv3L.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/WSFgv3L.gif')

One of the bigger changes I made last week was to the furniture placement system; It's now much easier and more intuitive to move furniture around your home. You can move furniture with either the gamepad or the mouse, and with the gamepad you can click in the right stick to snap back to the grid. It's pretty neat!

(http://i.imgur.com/c5UtbpG.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/c5UtbpG.gif')

Speaking of house things, I've also started prototyping various upgrades to the overall structure of your house. Upgrades will generally fall under two categories - size expansions, and new functionality. In the above gif you can see an example of the latter: a hidden room you can install to any room.

Like with the rest of the house you can do whatever you want with your hidden room, but for me? A house isn't truly a home until you have a secret room to eat cake in.

(http://i.imgur.com/tNJ6lR8.gif)

I reworked how to make donations to the historical society and it makes a lot more sense than the old version. Currently only critter donations are possible, but they have their own little section to run around in now

I also greatly increased the spawn rate of new critters during an average day as during my playtesting I wasn't finding a lot of them.

(http://i.imgur.com/34uojGh.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/34uojGh.gif')

Someone suggested last week that it'd be neat if villagers could say something as you walk by them, so I put in a barebones prototype of a system that could do just that.

Right now it's pretty simple smalltalk, but in the future I could extend it to when villagers have something important to say, merchants that tell you about sales, inter-villager conversations that you aren't involved in, and so on.

(http://i.imgur.com/trXILb2.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/trXILb2.gif')

In previous versions you had the ability to roll, similar to 3D Zeldas, and it served as a way to interact with some objects - like rolling into trees to knock stuff out of them.

In the upcoming version I've removed rolling entirely (it was causing a surprising amount of issues), but I still wanted a way to shake trees, so I added the ability to shake them by hand. The 'loot table' for a tree is pretty big, so you never know what'll pop out...

(http://i.imgur.com/gm0J75h.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/gm0J75h.gif')

Finally, I put in a prototype for daily shows you can watch on TV. Each show has a timeslot (like early morning, afternoon, etc.) and they'll differ greatly from one another. In the early morning you get the weather, which is useful, and in the late morning you'll get the 'news', which is mostly silly writing making fun of things Good Morning America

It's all very lightweight - maybe 2-4 boxes of dialogue per show - but when appropriate it'll have continuous storytelling, running jokes, and more. Believe it or not, having daily TV shows was one of my earliest design notes I scribbled down!

(http://i.imgur.com/WZch2Y0.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/WZch2Y0.gif')

Well, I suppose I should wrap this up. I did even more than the above, like adding shadows to all the buildings, idle animations to the rest of the villagers, and more, but pretty soon you'll be able to see all of this stuff yourselves.

On July 9th - In less than a week! - I'm releasing the last pre-alpha demo for Village Monsters. It'll contain all the new stuff I've talked about for the last couple months and a lot more.

I define "pre-alpha" as being pretty rough and lacking some or most of the primary game loop,s systems, and core features. This is definitely my most polished and content-filled pre-alpha yet, but the release that comes after - in August or September - will be the first alpha release, and then we'll be cooking with fire.

But! That's neither here nor there. I hope you'll all take a look and play around with the new release when it comes out this Sunday!
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: Jubal on July 08, 2017, 10:38:29 AM
Looks fun! :) I was thinking of doing continuous TV shows for my game LIFE, but that scaled down to a very simple teletext machine that gives occasional readouts of news, because animating things is hard and my game engine is badly designed for it.

Also small thought, perhaps it's already on your list and I appreciate we're in early days, but a redesigned sweep-net anim at some point would be good, if I'm right in thinking that's the tool that has the funny rotatey/spin thing going on. When I played the first time I had no clue what that thing was.
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on July 10, 2017, 12:31:18 AM
Looks fun! :) I was thinking of doing continuous TV shows for my game LIFE, but that scaled down to a very simple teletext machine that gives occasional readouts of news, because animating things is hard and my game engine is badly designed for it.

Also small thought, perhaps it's already on your list and I appreciate we're in early days, but a redesigned sweep-net anim at some point would be good, if I'm right in thinking that's the tool that has the funny rotatey/spin thing going on. When I played the first time I had no clue what that thing was.

Haha, you're totally right. One day I'll attach the tool to the player hands and have a player animation, but I was worried I was going to change the player sprite like a million times and didn't want to do too many complex animations if I had to change them
Title: Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on July 10, 2017, 12:32:11 AM
Oh, and it's a full moon! New version and for the first time - a new trailer

Happy Full Moon, y'all!

It's been 6 months since I started Village Monsters, and this latest demo - code named Strawberry Thunder - represents the final Pre-Alpha version I'm releasing. The next demo you play will be the first official Alpha release!

Pre-Alpha means that the game lacks core gameplay loops, has placeholders, incomplete features, bugs, and is overall pretty rough. However, out of all the releases I've put out this is by far the most polished, content-filled, and interesting - or, at least, I hope so!

If you like playing early games then please take a look! If you're still on the fence about a game so early in development, then why not follow along on this topic, Twitter (@WarpDogsVG (http://'https://twitter.com/WarpDogsVG')), or my main site, www.warpdogs.com (http://'http://www.warpdogs.com')!

Have fun!

Trailer:

Demo:
http://warpdogs.com/were-release/ (http://warpdogs.com/were-release/)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on July 10, 2017, 08:22:50 PM
Ooh, lovely, will take a look at this soon - am preparing to move out of the country at the moment so time is worryingly limited lately!
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on July 10, 2017, 10:04:39 PM
Oh man, where you headed?
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on July 10, 2017, 10:22:47 PM
Moving to Austria for the next 3 years to do a PhD. :)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on July 16, 2017, 09:35:12 PM
It's the weekend, so that means I get to share all I worked on last week in another edition of the Developer Diary Digest

Since I released the demo on Sunday I've been working on experimental prototyping; not all of it will survive, but it's a fun excursion.

The most successful prototype has been a 'potion' system. The idea of Village Monsters is that it's set inside an old video game, so I'm always thinking of things that could be 'artifacts' from the original game. Potions seemed like a neat way to have that + add all sorts of fun and unexpected ways to play with the systems in the game

(http://i.imgur.com/Rd60FqF.gif)

Potions will range from useful to the bizarre. You can control time, change your look and other attributes, and even do things you wouldn't - like control the weather. Like I said, it'll get pretty weird!

The system I made for potions allows me to whip up new effects in only a few minutes, so expect to see a lot of them.

Work on potions lead to improve the amount of item info I give players on items, so I began to prototype the idea of item cards

(http://i.imgur.com/KWAWRyi.png)

But I also want to use item descriptions as a way to tell stories. This is something other games have certainly done (Souls and Nier come to mind), but I've yet to see it done in a life-sim game where your items aren't swords and shields but rather furniture, decorations, and collectibles

I want a chair that you earn via a quest or hard-to-do challenge to be more meaningful and interesting then one you bought at the store; stories are one way I'm hoping to do this.

(http://i.imgur.com/9OlcKFr.png)

All items with stories can have their item cards 'flipped over' to view a short snippet related to it

(http://i.imgur.com/upvCrIx.png)

(text and graphics are all placeholders btw)

While messing with item-related stuff I went ahead and crossed off some of the smaller features on list: selling items, an expanded inventory, and basic dialog choices.

Finally, I had something of an incidental inspiration that I'm really happy about!

I worked a lot of critter behaviors this week - things like patroling around, running away from humans and other predators, and so on.
I ended up using the player house to test things instead of a debug room, and after I was done I left the little guy there and went to do other things. Each time I came back to the house I saw him running around, and it hit me - wouldn't it be cool to allow critters to become pets?

(http://i.imgur.com/yl5weG9.gif)

You were always going to have a dog, cat and guinea pig as pet choices, but the idea of letting other critters be 'domesticated' into a pet really struck a chord with me. It also makes catching critters a bit more interesting after you donate them, and gives a valid path beyond just selling them

I worried a bit about feature creep, but I have the systems there to hook it up pretty easily and I dunno, if I keep it lightweight enough I think it could be really cool! Pets are definitely something games like Animal Crossing really lack in
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on July 17, 2017, 11:23:19 PM
I really like the story-stuff on the item cards, that's a great call, though could be time intensive to write. Have you mapped out some vague idea of what the "original" game was like to allow for consistency in those descriptions? It would be nice if some of the item backstories linked up a bit.
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on July 19, 2017, 02:51:44 AM
Yeah, I definitely have a "world bible" of sorts to keep myself consistent and help with continuity. It is time intensive, but it also scratches a completely different itch than everything else, and in that way it gives me a sorta break from programming and artwork

Item backstories will absolutely link up, and I'm hoping that's a big motivator for people to 'complete' collections
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on July 22, 2017, 06:59:43 PM
It's the weekend, so that means I get to share all I worked on last week in another edition of the Developer Diary Digest!


EVENT & HOLIDAY SYSTEM

It seems like I've been putting off a holiday / event system for at least the last 6 months. It's one of the systems I've been most anticipating, but it relied on too many other moving pieces to work on...well, until now!

At the dawn of each day, the game now checks if there's an event scheduled, and if so it fires off any scripts related to it. It's pretty robust, and the scripts can do things like create holiday-specific visitors, add new music or decorations, change dialog, and a lot more.

(http://i.imgur.com/4y04tc8.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/4y04tc8.gif')

As I wrapped it up, I realized that I needed a way to inform the player about upcoming events and what they were all about. This naturally lead into the next thing I worked on...


A POSTAL SERVICE

You can now receive letters from villagers, visitors, and other friendly monsters in the game. The goal is to integrate the mail system into as many other parts of the game as I can. For example, you'll get a flyer the day before each holiday that explains it:

(http://i.imgur.com/2BURHrg.png) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/2BURHrg.png')

Letters you receive from villagers will reflect their personalities as well as their disposition toward you. Most will be helpful or friendly, but others, like Taswell,

(http://i.imgur.com/PoVY4H1.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/PoVY4H1.gif')

probably won't be at first.

As I said above, I want mail to be integrated into as many other systems as I can. As I was browsing my list of features I got to "The ability to submit feedback from in-game" when I suddenly had an idea...


SENDING FEEDBACK VIA IN-GAME POSTAL SERVICE

...wouldn't it be cool if you could write letters to the developer from inside the game itself?

(http://i.imgur.com/ZLyqC9E.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/ZLyqC9E.gif')

Now obviously there's a lot of things to consider here - security, spam protection, etc. - but the idea is so cool to me that I'll do whatever it takes to make it work.

It's hard enough to encourage users to submit feedback, so providing something in-game that's also contextualized via a system they're going to be using every day can only help!


BIRD SONG

Finally, I'll end this week sharing a new 'flavor' feature.

If you've played any of the demos you've likely seen birds flying about every so often. But unlike real life, they've been totally silent.

Well not anymore! Birds that fly overhead will now chirp and caw and sing. I obviously can't record sounds via gifs, so I tried my best to provide an alternative:

(http://i.imgur.com/odZgSNi.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/odZgSNi.gif')

Well that'll do it for this week. Enjoy your weekend, y'all!
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on July 22, 2017, 11:50:37 PM
I like the postal service ideas, that's great :)

Also, as a heads-up, avoid making any major posts in the first half of next week, we're about to do a big server migration (after which we'll be getting a lot busier and hopefully starting to get the site a bit more active again!)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on July 23, 2017, 07:29:03 PM
Sounds good! Good luck with the migration. Looking forward to even more activity on this site.
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on July 24, 2017, 10:55:49 PM
Right, migration should be sorted (or be at least in the process of being sorted). All remarkably smooth!
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on July 30, 2017, 09:45:49 PM
I feel fancier already!
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on July 30, 2017, 10:24:22 PM
The main thing I feel is that, unlike on the old server, I can now install security patches so we're less likely to have the whole site break :P And now we've moved (and I've moved too, just starting to settle in to a new country), time to be working on some new stuff :)

I was talking to a friend about Village Monsters recently, she said a few of her friends might well be interested in it; definitely getting good signs when I've chatted to people about it lately.
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on July 30, 2017, 11:55:11 PM
It's the weekend, so that means I get to share everything I worked on last week in yet another edition of the Developer Diary Digest!

Before I begin, I wanted to quickly plug something. You might not know this, but I have a newsletter for Village Monsters, and I would absolutely love it if you signed up for it!

(http://i.imgur.com/H4DtcAd.png) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/H4DtcAd.png')

Newsletter Signup: https://tinyletter.com/Village-Monsters (https://tinyletter.com/Village-Monsters)

I try to reserve the newsletter for only big ticket items, so you'll be the first to know of releases and other important news.

Anyway, back to the update!

---

I had a few really productive weeks this month, so I guess I was 'due' to have a slow one. I didn't get nearly as much done as I had hoped, and I ended up getting caught in a few technical quagmires; still, I have things to share, so let's get on with it!

Fleshing Out Hobbies
From day 1 of development I knew that hobbies were going to be a major feature of Village Monsters. When you aren't talking with villagers, improving your house or solving mysteries, you'll probably be progressing your skills (and making money) with one of the various hobbies

Critter Capturing was the first hobby I put in, followed by Fishing and Archaeology. I had a bunch of ideas for other hobbies to add to the mix, but I wasn't sure which ones would work best. Well, until now.

(http://i.imgur.com/yvkSaGi.png) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/yvkSaGi.png')
(icons are very much 1st draft)

Village Monsters will now contain five hobbies for you to enjoy: Cooking, Critter Capturing, Botany, Fishing, and Archaeology. This post details some new updates to two of them.

Botany Prototyping
Botany is one of the new hobbies I've been working on, and it includes everything plant related.

The reason I'm going with Botany instead of something like Gardening is that you'll be able to do way more than grow a simple garden

This week, I played around with planting & watering trees, as well as managing growth as time progresses - assuming you make sure to water and care for them each day

(http://i.imgur.com/0K9keDU.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/0K9keDU.gif')

Like all prototypes it's a big work-in-progress. However, thanks to feedback from a user at another site I've had some intriguing ideas that I'm keeping under my hat. Stay tuned next week, yeah?

Fishing Revamp
Fishing was one of the first hobbies I implemented, but I haven't touched it since. It's in a sorry state as of the last demo, and I'm pretty embarrassed by how bad it is.

What began as a 'revamp' quickly turned into a 'refactor' which the became a total 'rewrite'. I tossed out all my old code and rewrote it from the ground up.

(http://i.imgur.com/bxRwT1j.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/bxRwT1j.gif')

It was a slow process, but fishing is in a much better state in terms of stability and mechanics. Work will continue on this system this week as well.

I've always been dissatisfied with fishing minigames in other life-sim games, so I'm going in a different direction. You can expect a system that's much more inspired by JRPGs than any existing life-sim out there.

Quality of Life
To wrap up, I also included a grab bag of bug fixes and quality of life improvements that I received from demo feedback.

Trees should behave better and no longer give you a permanent hug. Birds fly a bit slower. The keyboard control scheme was reworked. Critters should hopefully not crash the game as much. Your bit (currency) balance is now shown when you add or subtract from it

And so on.

I also got a lot of writing in this week as well. Every item - every single item - has a unique description and flavor text. Some even have detailed backstories. Pretty nuts, right? Well it's been a ton of fun, so there's no stopping me now.

(http://i.imgur.com/PuDjcVg.png) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/PuDjcVg.png')

Until next time!
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on July 31, 2017, 10:46:35 PM
Excellent, just in time for this month's Updates: http://exilian.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=5231 :)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 02, 2017, 04:41:45 AM
Whoo!!
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on August 02, 2017, 11:03:36 PM
Also I like the idea of mithril being massively over-hyped. I'm not sure I've *ever* seen the "mithril is the best shiny stuff" trope played anything other than straight before.
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 06, 2017, 11:07:39 PM
It's the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)!

Like last week I have a bit of housekeeping to do before diving in. Longtime followers know that I've tried several different ways to present progress updates, but none of them have really 'stuck'. However, it seems this weekly format has really been working for me.

As such, I went ahead and created an archive for every Dev Diary Digest I've posted since I started doing them. If you missed earlier editions, or if you just want to see how far I've come, then please do take a look!

http://warpdogs.com/developer-diaries/ (http://warpdogs.com/developer-diaries/)

Anyway, onto the update

Pets
I may have shared this anecdote before, but the road to pets was a serendipitous one

A few weeks ago I was working on debugging critter behavior, and for whatever reason I was testing it in the player's house. As I kept going in and out of the house it occurred to me how much I actually liked having a critter there - it was sort of like having a pet! Wouldn't it be cool if that was an actual feature?

This week I was able to prototype this idea:

(http://i.imgur.com/8q7CmzQ.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/8q7CmzQ.gif')

Here's how it works: first, you gotta catch a critter. Then, walk up to an special item (currently a pet bowl) and select the pet you want to tame. You can only tame one at a time, so choose wisely

At first, all critters start out as "Wild", and they'll act much like they did before you caught them. Over time, if you feed them and treat them well they'll increasingly become tame and more affectionate.

Tamed critters will also continue to behave similarly to their wild versions, and they'll retain any unique attributes. For example, if you catch a Snowflake Elemental he'll make your entire house cold; good during the summer, but not so good if you have a lot of fish on display...

Hail / Thunderboomers
I always enjoy working on weather systems, so I took a detour to add a new weather type - Hail

(http://i.imgur.com/ZFOVvAc.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/ZFOVvAc.gif')

I had to improve the weather system to handle the little hail pellets, and these improvements should help with any 'ground based' weather effects in the future...leaf piles in the fall, snowdrifts, rain puddles, and so on.

I then went ahead and added more sound effects to the various weather types. I also added a minor feature where weather sounds can still be heard indoors at a lower volume. It's surprisingly atmospheric, especially during thunderstorms!

UI Improvements (Map, Inventory, Notices)
Finally, though I generally don't like it, I also spent a great deal of time on UI work. I've never enjoyed UI work, not even at my last job where functionality was preferred over looks, but I'm actually pretty happy with how things shook out this time.

First, I added a map for the village to the Compendium. It's very basic and just lays the foundation for future maps:

(http://i.imgur.com/bEpFwuF.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/bEpFwuF.gif')

I then added movement to various notifications. I like it a lot better than the notices just appearing suddenly.

(http://i.imgur.com/kDoM9UA.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/kDoM9UA.gif')

(http://i.imgur.com/9o5E3sg.gif) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/9o5E3sg.gif')

Finally, I completely blew up and reworked the inventory. I actually did this some time ago, but I added an extra layer of polish and usability this week. It's unquestionably better than the old inventory, but that's not saying much - the old one was really bad!

(http://i.imgur.com/Qy7biKB.png)
Anyway, that's it from me. As usual I also added a lot of minor things, quality of life improvements, and bugfixes, but nothing I need to call out. Have a good week!

(http://i.imgur.com/eEaKmYR.png) (http://'http://i.imgur.com/eEaKmYR.png')
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on August 06, 2017, 11:33:22 PM
Eee! Will all critters be tameable in this way? (Also, definitely have some really monstrous/weird critters you can turn into pets, I know lots of people who'd happily get a game just for being able to have tiny daemonic horrors or whatever in a tank in their house).
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 07, 2017, 10:31:54 PM
As of now, yeah, all pets can be tamed. I don't really see a reason not to, and I agree - sometimes it's cool to tame a hedgehog, othertimes it's cool to tame a beholder :)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on August 07, 2017, 10:52:30 PM
Also, as I make this feature request of every dev on the site somehow - if you include a pet pangolin I will be very happy :P
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Gmd on August 08, 2017, 02:35:20 AM
This is some impressive stuff!
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 09, 2017, 05:45:21 PM
Thank you so much!
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 13, 2017, 11:30:48 PM
It's the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)

There is now less than a month to go until the version I'm working on releases for you all to play with. This'll mark the very first Alpha version that I make public, and I'm pretty excited about it.

September is shaping up to be quite the month, and it's not just the Alpha release; stay tuned for more information on that very soon

A Day at the Beach
Due to the nature of the game it's not often that I get to create a new area, so it was a real nice change of pace to work on one this week.

Introducing...the beach.

(http://i.imgur.com/9gnZUHU.gif)

The beach is just a short walk away from the village - just head south from the gate and keep going until you reach the surf.

(http://i.imgur.com/Q0V84fM.gif)

Though you or I would consider such a trip to be a nice day out, it seems that monsters haven't really taken to the human notion of spending the day in the sun and sand. Unless there's a special event going on you're likely to find the area to be largely empty.

Still, you'll probably enjoy the solitude. You can catch fish, work on your tan, and nosh on some whoopie pies in peace.

(http://i.imgur.com/ILiIETS.png)

Ancient Ruins of Soon
Longtime followers of the game know that I often try to slip in as many 'meta' elements as I can. After all, this is a game in which the conceit is that the NPCs have taken it over and the digital barrier between our worlds is thinner than ever - I'm hoping it gives me some artistic liberty

Alongside beaches I added another new area to visit, though this one won't make it to the final game. It's called the Ancient Ruins of Soon, and it's an area you can visit to consult stone tablets on prophecy...

(http://i.imgur.com/N3nVOaq.gif)

...in other words? You can view my plans on future features and changes from the game instead of going to my website or elsewhere.

I tried to split it up by category, so if you want to know what the future holds for hobbies or story or your house then you can view just that information.

Even More UI Changes
This marks the 2nd week in a row in which UI changes made it to the top of my priority list. Here's a sampling of what I worked on this time.

Notifications have been slightly resized and now rotate so that the newest is always displayed at the bottom

(http://i.imgur.com/MfB4YOR.gif)

Meeting villagers for the first time now produces a notification

(http://i.imgur.com/nmmTale.gif)

The inventory now has context-sensitive prompts depending on the mode or item

(http://i.imgur.com/f7YVnJg.gif)

Finally, I did an initial pass on an in-game version of the world map.

(http://i.imgur.com/JSjlJ0N.png)

Ok, that'll do it for this week. Hope you're enjoying these dog days of summer, because I'm definitely not. I hate the heat. Autumn can't come fast enough!

Until next time

(http://i.imgur.com/DYpuadz.gif)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on August 14, 2017, 10:36:54 PM
TINY HORSE! :D

Also yay, I like maps. Let me know a bit in advance of when you're about to go into alpha properly and we can put a properly timed frontpage announcement out for it :)

Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 20, 2017, 11:12:39 PM
It's the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)

This edition is an extra-large one. I typically try to pick out the 3 most important things I worked on to share, but I was a real whirling dervish of productivity this week, and just 3 things ain't going to cut it. Enough talk, let's dig in.

A Preview of Seasons

(http://i.imgur.com/yntn5Cs.gif)

Up until now, every screenshot I shared has been from 'Spring', but it's been somewhat misleading as Village Monsters is a game of many seasons and colors.

This week, I wanted to experiment with what different seasonal tilesets might look like, so I whipped up the above to test them out.

It'll likely change a few times between now and the final release, but I'm pretty happy with the colors and mood of each season.


New Additions to the Town
Last week's addition of the beach inspired me to do some further work to the village and surrounding areas.

(http://i.imgur.com/g0ptUHr.png)

The 'civic district' - such at that is - has seen some love. A new town plaza sits empty, but that won't be for long. A graveyard was added to the church, though I'm not sure what the monsters are planning for it.

(http://i.imgur.com/bZBTkCj.png)

The 'residential district' has also seen a new house pop up seemingly overnight. That skull really sticks out like a sore thumb, and Stapes & Saley (you know, the skeletal warriors that guard the gates) have been told to do something about it. Maybe next week.

(http://i.imgur.com/jgBTJ8u.png)

Finally, a new area has been spotted east of the Crossroads. It's called the Overlook, and it's one of the best ways to get a view of the land outside the village. As with the beach, this area is usually pretty quiet. Maybe one day it'll make for a good gardening spot?


Compendium Vol. 2

(http://i.imgur.com/3GA4bl4.gif)

The Compendium is a very important book that is much more than just a menu. It is a complete log of your adventures and exploits in the world. It tracks quests, villager profiles, critter and fish collections, a map, and much more.

The Compendium Vol. 2 does all these same things, but with a fresher coat of paint and some increased usability options.

I'm unsure at this stage how fleshed out the Compendium will be by Alpha 1's release, but at minimum you can expect some light tutorializing to via quests to be handled by the Compendium


A Grab Bag of Other Goodies

Stalking Critters

(http://i.imgur.com/P6HqvEE.gif)

By holding the 'Swing Net' action you can now enter stalk mode. You move much slower, but animals will almost never run away from you. Be sneaky, but still be quick about it!


A System-level menu

(http://i.imgur.com/Vwmvnt2.png)

Escape no longer dumps you from the game instantly. It now brings up a menu


Reworked Choices

(http://i.imgur.com/wcNzpui.gif)

Choices in dialog now works a bit differently. You simply hold the direction of the answer you want to give


Well, that'll do it for this week. Just a few more weeks before PAX, Alpha 1, and something pretty big. I'm pumped!

(http://i.imgur.com/i57bcmx.png)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on August 20, 2017, 11:19:04 PM
Could you fill the graveyard with the names of player characters (or mobs) who died in the hypothetical early 1990s playthroughs of the game? You could randomly generate them and a variety of amusing fates for them quite easily :)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 22, 2017, 10:54:20 PM
Hah, yes, that's a good idea. I always like reading gravestones in games
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on August 22, 2017, 11:00:53 PM
Did you ever play any of the old "tales of middle earth" variants? I never got far with them, they're insanely difficult roguelikes, but I'd keep making kobold characters to see how fast they died, and ended up making two differently named "clans" because their histories started getting stored in the game's archives so I'd treat each run as the next generation trying to compete with the other clan to see which clan's characters lasted longest before death and got most glory in the ingame archive :P

I do like the seasonal stuff btw, good job :)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 24, 2017, 08:50:58 PM
Did you ever play any of the old "tales of middle earth" variants? I never got far with them, they're insanely difficult roguelikes, but I'd keep making kobold characters to see how fast they died, and ended up making two differently named "clans" because their histories started getting stored in the game's archives so I'd treat each run as the next generation trying to compete with the other clan to see which clan's characters lasted longest before death and got most glory in the ingame archive :P

I do like the seasonal stuff btw, good job :)

I played a bit ToME4 which I understand is the more recent (and non-LotR) version. But I definitely agree with this, and its my favorite part of Roguelikes

Dwarf Fortress has this as well. In fact, the original intent of DF (though it's since changed) is to play city builder mode to create a wonderful fortress before it's overrun by demons or goblins or something else, and then to explore the ruins of your previous fort as an adventurer. As the adventurer you could examine engravings and artifacts and learn about the history of the people that inhabited the fort. It was all very cool.
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on August 24, 2017, 09:16:02 PM
Oh yeah, they changed it to tales of Maj'Eyal or something bogus like that to give themselves a bit more creative freedom or something, didn't they?

I should go have another go at Dwarf Fortress sometime, I know some people who love it, I didn't get into it the first time I played but I suspect I gave up too early on the learning curve.

I often do this on a smaller scale when making my own games: about half the NPCs in LIFE, my current project, are actually my testing characters who then got "promoted" to permanent NPC status. :)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 26, 2017, 03:54:59 AM
That's awesome. That's actually my preferred method for adding nearly anything to the game - accidental features that become real features, test characters that get promoted to NPC status, etc. I love it when a feature or character has a story or context behind it!
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on August 26, 2017, 11:08:18 PM
Yeah, I should actually play up some of the character backstories more in my games, there's some fun stuff there that I know but the player doesn't get to see...
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 27, 2017, 07:35:01 AM
Attention all Freemonsters & Humans

BIG NEWS! Village Monsters is coming to Kickstarter on September 12th!

You can of course expect continued news and updates from me in this topic, but if you want to be the first to know when the Kickstarter drops then I definitely recommend signing up for the Village Monsters newsletter (http://'https://tinyletter.com/Village-Monsters')

(http://i.imgur.com/02BWlgA.png)

Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on August 27, 2017, 08:12:43 PM
Good stuff! We'll do our best to get some good promotional stuff out about it :)

(Also the freemonsters do sound a lot like freemasons, just sayin'...)
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 28, 2017, 12:56:41 AM
Hah! Well I guess it's kinda like a secret society...

Thank you for the offer of support! I'll need all the help I can get
Title: Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on August 28, 2017, 07:35:06 PM
Hello monster friends!

It's the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)

Today's update is both late and briefer than usual, but I hope i have a good excuse: with PAX being this week, Alpha 1 release next week, and Kickstarter kicking off the week after that, I've been pretty dang busy.

So no preamble this week - let's just get onto it!

Under Construction
The majority of my time last week was spent on improving the village in some pretty major ways.

First, I created and furnished four new homes for monsters to live in (though they're still pretty sparse for now). I also converted that strange skull in town into a proper home for Saley & Stapes, the two skeletal guards.

(http://i.imgur.com/ziSO94i.png)

Overflow - the town's tavern and a major hangout spot for locals - was also completely revamped...in the sense that before the revamp, the exterior was unfinished and the interior didn't exist. Both outside and inside are now in a much better place.

Beyond new buildings, I also began moving things around to accommodate new ideas. I now have enough buildings to actually have something close to 'districts' in our little village - the town hall, church, and historical society fill out the Civic District, a new general store and existing furniture merchant have made something like a Commercial District, and of course the houses make up the Residential District

Here's a neat GIF showing how the village has changed and evolved in the last 8 months:

(http://i.imgur.com/of492lR.gif)

Finally, I also created 3 additional villagers and revamped a 4th. Meet Bavarian the Chef Blob, Lucy the Artistic Golem, Rainboy the Elemental, and Serin the...uh...tree.

(http://i.imgur.com/SMOgB4D.gif)

Dynamic Camera
It seems at least once a month I get bogged down by some obnoxious camera bug that comes out of nowhere, and this month was no different.

However, this time my solution ended up turning into a feature - a dynamic camera. There's probably a better name for this, but what I mean is that the camera smoothly follows the player at its own speed as opposed to always keeping the player dead-center on screen.

(http://i.imgur.com/Hv5x2jM.gif)

This fits better with the relaxed style of game I'm making, and also looks a lot better in motion. It's hard to capture via a GIF, so you'll need to trust me that it looks better.

New Critters?
Sometimes I sit down to do one thing and end up feeling motivated to do something else entirely. That was the case this week, and it's why I ended up creating four new critters to find and collect.

I won't share them so they can remain a bit of a secret, but here's the Capricious Cumulus, a cloud-based critter that oscillates between feelings of timidness and aggression.

(http://i.imgur.com/b1LlXfe.gif)

That'll do this for this week. Next week is likely to be just as sparse and late, but things are going very well and you'll have a chance to see for yourself on September 6th when Alpha 1 releases.

Don't forget that the Kickstarter starts a week later on September 12th. It's going to be a hectic month, but this fall is shaping up to be a hell of a good time.

(http://i.imgur.com/q9355Dt.gif)
Title: Re: [Kickstarter: September 12th] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on August 29, 2017, 10:53:22 PM
Nice work as ever :) Rainboy is kinda cute!

Also, I really need to get round to sending you a message about some Exilian stuff... I'll try and do that soon!
Title: Re: [Kickstarter: September 12th] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on September 04, 2017, 07:33:13 AM
As 'promised', this week's edition of the VMD3 is late, and it'll be quite brief. I'm keeping descriptions to a minimum and instead focusing of a screenshot blitz.

First up, some usual housekeeping: September has begun, and with it begins the most important month of my entire life. Nearly a 9 months ago I quit my day job to pursue this dream of creating games, and this month will be my first attempt at making it a viable.

On September 6th I'm releasing the Alpha 1 demo of Village Monsters. This is an enormous release that builds upon everything I've done in the last 9 months.

A week later, on September 12th, I launch my Kickstarter campaign that'll run through September and into the appropriately spooky month of October. I'm very excited and anxious for you all to see what I have cooking.

Ok. Enough words. Onto the screenshot blitz.

(https://i.imgur.com/nWd6y2u.png)

More village changes have been enacted. The still-unnamed Treasure Chest merchant - run by Skunkworks, the Mimic - has been converted into furniture-only...

(https://i.imgur.com/ohz8yik.png)

...while a new General Store (run by Bottes) has been constructed to sell food, potions, and other sundries

(https://i.imgur.com/byT3Aha.png)

Nearly a month ago I renamed all the months of the in-game calendar, but until now that has only existed in an Excel doc, not the game. That has changed

(https://i.imgur.com/X0rZy2w.gif)

New interiors have been added to all new home. That has also prompted me to add more furniture, floor and wall types

(https://i.imgur.com/yy1MJ49.gif)

This includes new homes + portraits and dialogue for the new villagers introduced last week.

(https://i.imgur.com/kcV5spP.gif)

These WIP icons for tools are still ugly, but I added numbers to each to make it a bit easier to keep track of. You can also press the number on your keyboard to quickly bring it up instead of rotating to find it

(https://i.imgur.com/T4Aewix.gif)

There's so much I can and want to show you, but some stuff I gotta keep under the hat for now. Here's a short clip from the upcoming Kickstarter trailer. It'll be strikingly similar to my first trailer, but like everything else it's been heavily iterated and updated. Hope you're looking forward to seeing it!

That'll do it for this week. With any luck I'll be back on a more regular schedule this week, but things are going to be pretty crazy for awhile.

It's been a wild ride. I hope it never stops. Thanks for joining me on it! <3
Title: Re: [Kickstarter: September 12th] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on September 04, 2017, 10:50:03 PM
Nice :) Good luck with everything, and let me know what I can do to help.
Title: Re: [Kickstarter: September 12th] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on September 06, 2017, 10:25:42 PM
Happy Full Moon, Y’all
A new full moon means a new version of Village Monsters for you to enjoy. I’m happy to announce that the latest demo, Alpha 1, is now officially released.

Go download (http://'http://warpdogs.com/were-release/') it now!

This is a big release, so I included the patch notes in a whole other post - go check them out if you're into that kind of thing (http://'http://warpdogs.com/2017/09/06/alpha1/')!

It's a great milestone, but with the Kickstarter coming up next week there's no rest for the wicked quite yet. My attention now shifts toward finishing up the loose ends in the Kickstarter.

However, there is other good news - because I want present the best possible demo for the Kickstarter (and for you, of course!), you can expect another release within the next week that contains even more features and polish.

Feel free to leave your feedback here, or send me an email at josh@warpdogs.com. Thanks guys!

(http://warpdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/screenshotsaturday3.gif)
Title: Re: [Kickstarter: September 12th] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on September 06, 2017, 10:54:36 PM
Awesome, great work :)

I'll try and carve out some time to play it at the weekend, but can't promise much within the next week as I'm currently dying of paperwork and house-hunting!
Title: Re: [Kickstarter: September 12th] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on September 10, 2017, 09:09:05 PM
Hello monster friends!

It's the weekend, and that means another edition of the Village Monsters Dev Diary Digest (VMD3)

The marathon continues! This past week saw the release of the latest demo, and it was a big one.

www.warpdogs.com/were-release/ (http://www.warpdogs.com/were-release)

I want to thank all the people who took the time to share feedback! You are making Village Monsters a better game. You can expect another release tomorrow that contains more features and bugfixes reported via feedback

The Kickstarter is coming soon. Real soon. As in, in the next 48 hours! I'm so pumped. And nervous. Mostly pumped!

As with last week I'm going to keep the text at a minimum and make this a screenshot blitz. Let's get to it

(https://i.imgur.com/TyoHT5t.gif)

I did a fair amount of work on the last hobby prototype, Cooking. It's far from where I want it, but it'll improve over time

(https://i.imgur.com/eBAFM6h.gif)

Remember the potion system? I went and combined it with food effects to open the door for all sorts of goofy fun. Snowberry Shrooms now properly chill you to the bone, while Spicy Shrooms put an extra kick in your step

(https://i.imgur.com/HGmDXb5.gif)

A new area, the forest, has been implemented. This is also your first chance to investigate some of the glitches and faults ruining the world outside the village

(https://i.imgur.com/uLq6XDC.png)

The first of many quests have been added - meet all villagers in town! There's no reward for finding them all (yet...), but it's a good way to track your progress

(https://i.imgur.com/rYzbZH9.png)

Finally, more helper text has been added to Home Customizer mode. You also are automatically placed in this mode when placing a new piece of furniture
Title: Re: [Kickstarter: September 12th] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on September 12, 2017, 06:09:09 AM
Hey guys, another quick patch went up tonight in advance of tomorrow's Kickstarter campaign.

Like Alpha 1.01 it's a small patch, but it contains many more changes and even a couple new features, so it's worth checking out if you haven't exhausted the previous demo yet.

You can grab the latest it and read the patch notes right here (http://warpdogs.com/2017/09/11/1187/)
Title: Re: [KICKSTARTER IS LIVE] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on September 12, 2017, 07:47:15 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/2rV05eE.png)

Oh, hello there! Village Monsters is now officially LIVE ON KICKSTARTER! Come, help me build a village!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/389391560/village-monsters-a-monstrous-life-sim-game (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/389391560/village-monsters-a-monstrous-life-sim-game)

There's also a new OP (the old one was getting pretty stale) and a new trailer!

Title: Re: [KICKSTARTER IS LIVE] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on September 12, 2017, 11:54:54 PM
Well done, great stuff :)

News frontpage done (Read all about it! Read all about it! :) )
http://exilian.co.uk/index.php
Title: Re: [KICKSTARTER IS LIVE] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on September 13, 2017, 10:11:32 PM
Well done, great stuff :)

News frontpage done (Read all about it! Read all about it! :) )
http://exilian.co.uk/index.php

That looks so good! Thank you so much for all the support!!
Title: Re: [KICKSTARTER IS LIVE] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on September 13, 2017, 11:36:55 PM
No probs :) Will attempt some social media advertising too!
Title: Re: [KICKSTARTER IS LIVE] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on September 14, 2017, 01:00:51 AM
Phew, what a whirlwind the last 36 hours have been. I'm not exactly sure how much sleep I've grabbed since this thing launched, but it's surely not a lot!

Hopefully I'm not being too annoying spamming this, but I'd be remiss not to include a link to the Kickstarter (http://kck.st/2xXKvht) at the top of this post :)

A few notes!
Things will most likely slow down from here on out if previous Kickstarters are any indication. I'm actually ok with that, as I'll use the 'downtime' to resume working on the game. I'm hoping to get out several new releases between now and the end of the Kickstarter, though of course they'll be smaller in size than the previous bi-monthly demos.

Thanks as always for following along!
Title: Re: [KICKSTARTER IS LIVE] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on September 14, 2017, 07:28:12 PM
Added my own pledge :) Unfortunately not a big one, as a grad student budget is what it is! Glad to see it's gotten off to an OK start.

Title: Re: [KICKSTARTER: 30% FUNDED!] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: WarpDogsVG on September 17, 2017, 01:34:41 AM
The whirlwind rages on.

It's stressful, sure, but there's also something fun about running around like your hair is on fire - it makes the days feel a lot more productive

I'm foregoing the typical weekend digest this week because a) I don't have time, and b) I didn't really do a whole lot on the game this week/ Still, I do have a few things to chat about, so let's make like a gun and bullet.

Oh, and again, I'd be silly to not link to the Kickstarter at the top of the post!  (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/389391560/village-monsters-a-monstrous-life-sim-game)If you like what you see in this topic and want to support me, then please consider sharing or making a pledge.

Regarding Kickstarter...
(https://i.imgur.com/m1Es8XU.gif)

Regarding the Game...

(https://i.imgur.com/ennPxdK.png)

Well, that'll do it for now. Hopefully this coming week is a bit slower, as I'll be able to get more done on the game - including more dev streams!
Title: Re: [KICKSTARTER: 30% FUNDED!] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
Post by: Jubal on September 20, 2017, 10:53:13 PM
Glad to see it's going well - over a third of the way now by the looks of it! :)