The Kristala Dev Blog - Issue #16


Welcome back, beings of Ailur! You're tuning in to the official dev blog for indie action RPG Kristala, developed by the incredible team at Astral Clocktower Studios.


We're super pumped you're here.


We've got a lot of exciting updates to share with you today, and while we're not incredibly happy about this whole pandemic business, we're super grateful for the opportunity to connect and get down to business on getting this demo complete.


We feel like we've been teasing the completion date for Kristala's demo for quite some time now, and it feels really awesome to actually be on the precipice of having the project ready. You'll be able to get your hands on it super soon. We promise!


Until then, we're continuing to serve up some super fresh dev updates that are still warm from the oven. So sit back, relax, and get ready to take a deeper dive into the fantastic, dark-fantasy world of Kristala.



Programming


No one's been bustin' buns quite as much as Will has recently. As our fearless lead programmer, a lot of the finishing touches for our demo fall on his shoulders. Luckily, Will can handle it.


This sprint, he worked on repairing and setting up functionality for our Equipment and Inventory menus; his new changes allow for both controller and mouse input. He also worked on the functionality for highlight selection as well as the back button functionality, plus the ability to remember which slot players clicked on so they don’t have to navigate back to where they just were within various menus.


Sounds kinda confusing for the rest of us programming novices, but Will's got it covered.


Will also made changes to loading functionality to fix the bug we shared last week where the player character seemed to be falling indefinitely upon load, because the character was loading before the level itself could.


Beyond that, Will addressed the AI for various enemies and finished up the lock mechanics for the doors and gates that will be found both in our demo and the full version of Kristala.


Here are a few funny clips Will recorded while working on the door functionality.



Once Will perfected the door functionality, he went ahead and actually set up all the doors and gates that will be featured in our Dalamase’ swamp level.


Lastly, Will created a few destructibles and placed them into their proper sub levels, then implemented and refined a few more things...like our earthquake spell and the special attack for our Nisargan Impaler weapon.


Before we move on, let's take a peek at Will's full walk-through explanation and demonstration for the three kinds of doors we've utilized in the game thus far.



Tiffany lent a hand to some programming-related tasks this sprint too.


First, she finished up the Water Wheel sidequest she'd been working on. Specifically, she worked on fixing duplication, ensuring the poison pit drained properly, and adding a "quest completed" check mark on level load.


She also made it so that journal entries or quest items display properly when accessed from the inventory, and then added short inventory and equipment descriptions where needed.


Lastly, Tiff anchored the Use/Drop widget when using a controller and addressed a strange collider issue we were experiencing in the water village sub-level.



3D Asset Design


Last issue, we shared some initial shots of the model Nick created for our magic lantern-fruit tree. Here are some updated shots of this awesome asset.


Nick added some gorgeous veining texturing along the trunk and branches of the tree, which represent the crystal essence that’s coursing through the tree itself, marking it as a magic object in the game.



Nick also continued to finesse the various warp consumables we shared last issue. We liked the way these consumables looked so much that we asked Nick to apply the same crystal-caked aesthetic to a couple boulders with varying emissive levels to be placed throughout the environment of our Dalamase’ swamp level.


How cool would it be to find something like this in the wild?



In addition to the boulders, we tasked Nick with creating some custom, exotic, fantasy plants and foliage to be used throughout the Kristala game.


We’re so pleased with how these are looking. Stay tuned for updates!



Lastly, Nick started work on this cool, Nisargan eminence bomb. This is a special item that's unique to the Nisargan clan lands. Players will find all sorts of clan-specific, unique items all over Ailur as they progress through the Anagativan clan lands.



If you've been following our development journey for Kristala, you know that our talented 3D Environmental Designer, Cass, has been working on a bunch of custom structures for our regal Nasahara Ruins level.


This sprint, Cass continued on that journey, refining each model's textures and ensuring every little detail is on point. We’d say he’s done a really great job, wouldn’t you agree?


Here's a peek at the finished textures for the third damaged row house and some of the progress Cass has made on the intact, undamaged structures too.



Last issue, we shared the third spider model Bianca's been working on - a tree trunk spider that's meant to blend in with our Dalamase' level's swampy environment by mimicking the look and feel of an actual tree trunk.


Here's a peek at the retopo process Bianca started. She'll be getting this bad boy painted up real pretty in the coming weeks.




Menu / UI Design


OK, OK...so this isn’t directly related to our in-game menu design, but this sprint, we also had Bianca work on creating some stream overlays for use during our live dev streams. Check it!



And speaking of streaming...our stream team has been hard at work hosting several live dev streams per week.


Producer Allie has been walking us through her process for building custom rigs and finessing various animations, Lead Level Designer Tiff has been sharing how we build our rich game environments, and Lead Gameplay Programmer Will has been walking us through various programming-related tasks.


Trust us...you don't wanna miss out! Be sure to follow our socials so you can be the first to catch our LIVE devstream announcements.




To whet your palette, here are a couple highlight snippets from some of our most recent live Kristala dev streams.


Typically, we spend an hour or two walking you through a certain aspect of Kristala's development - whether it's rigging/animation, level design, or programming - and then play some of our favorite games while we chat.



Like what you see so far?


You can catch more moments like this by watching the Kristala stream team anytime during our weekly streaming schedule. We're LIVE every day of the week (except Mondays) at 9:00 pm EDT. We can't wait to see you there!




Level Design


This sprint, Joe continued to work on nailing down the layout for our Nasahara Ruins level. Here's a peek at some of his newest additions and adjustments.


We can't wait to show you all the plans we have for this level. Stay tuned!




Animation / Rigging / Production


Per usual, Allie had her hands in a bunch of different aspects of dev this sprint. First, she worked on refining the appearance of our various equipment frames and emblems for the Kristala demo's on-screen UI.


Which frames are you diggin' the most? Let us know in the comments below!



Next, Allie got the magic lantern-fruit tree that Nick designed set up in the game build. We still have a lot of work to do on making the leaves look the way we want them to, but here’s a look at how the tree appears in UE4.



Last week, we ran into a bug where the character was holding her shield very strangely, so Allie made sure to get that fixed up and get the shield working seamlessly in the game build.



After tackling the shield movements, Allie worked on refining the functionality for swapping between various weapons during combat.


Here’s a peek at how our player character switches between the Nisargan magic staff and the Blight shield in game.



Next, Allie worked on the parry animation for our Kotakayan fiends.



Allie also implemented the animation sequences for our Impaler sword and Rosethorne sword special attacks, as well as our Earthquake spell.


Here's the Impaler sword animations, pre visual effects.



Here's the Rosethorne Sword special attack, pre- and post-effects. We'll likely be altering this green smoke effect, but we figured we'd share some of Allie's progress thus far.



And here's a peek at the visual effects for our Earthquake spell. This one still needs refined for accuracy, but we're pretty pleased with how the VFX turned out.



Concept Design

A few issues ago, we hinted at a super important NPC known as The Hermit that will be featured in the Kristala game.


We're still very early in this character's concept, but we wanted to share some quick sketches our concept artist, Michael, put together to start to bring this NPC to life.


Which silhouette is your favorite?




Sound Design


Please join us in giving a hearty Ailuran welcome to our second composer, Adeel! Adeel joins the ACS Games family to lend a hand in composing the original soundtrack for Kristala.


We'll be sharing a lot more of Adeel's work in the coming weeks, but for now...here's a sample of some of the soul-crushing songs you can expect from Adeel's body of work.



Kristala Merch Alert!



Don't forget! We now have a Kristala merch store! Make sure you check it out and stay tuned for even more custom Kristala gear coming to the store soon.




Welp, you did it! You made it to the end of another riveting Kristala dev blog. Thanks so much for tuning in! We can't properly express how much we appreciate your support for what it is we're doing here at ACS Games.


If you're liking what you're seeing, make sure you register for a site account and leave us some love in the comments section at the end of the post.


Be sure to also join our Discord community to chat directly with the members of our dev team. You'll get exclusive insight into juicy demo deets and exciting announcements too.


As always, thank you for your continued support...and thanks for stopping by.


-The ACS Games Dev Team



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