Author Topic: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!  (Read 882 times)

WarpDogsVG

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Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
« Reply #15 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!


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.



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.



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)

Jubal

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Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
« Reply #16 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 :)
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WarpDogsVG

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Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
« Reply #17 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


Jubal

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Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
« Reply #18 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! :)
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WarpDogsVG

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Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2017, 12:40:57 AM »

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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...


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!


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!

Jubal

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Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
« Reply #20 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.
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WarpDogsVG

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Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
« Reply #21 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

WarpDogsVG

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Re: Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing, but with monsters!
« Reply #22 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), or my main site, www.warpdogs.com!

Have fun!

Trailer:

Demo:
http://warpdogs.com/were-release/

Jubal

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Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
« Reply #23 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!
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WarpDogsVG

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Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2017, 10:04:39 PM »
Oh man, where you headed?

Jubal

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Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2017, 10:22:47 PM »
Moving to Austria for the next 3 years to do a PhD. :)
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WarpDogsVG

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Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
« Reply #26 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


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


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.


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


(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?


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

Jubal

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Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
« Reply #27 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.
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WarpDogsVG

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Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
« Reply #28 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

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Re: [New Trailer & Demo] Village Monsters - Kinda like Animal Crossing!
« Reply #29 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.


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:


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,


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?


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:


Well that'll do it for this week. Enjoy your weekend, y'all!