Another day, another dev blog...WOOHOO!
Welcome back, friends and fellow Kristalans. You're currently reading the Kristala Dev Blog, and hey...we're happy you're here!
For the past two weeks, we've been busy fixing bugs and planning out more aspects of the game's story so we're ready to move on from the Nisargan swamp once the demo drops (which we promise will be soon).
Until then, take a look at what's new in our world, and be sure to let us know what you think of our most recent development updates.
As mentioned above, Tiffany has been shifting gears from level design to assist with some of the programming bugs.
At the beginning of this sprint, Tiff helped troubleshoot a bunch of errors that prevented all the levels within the game from building properly. She changed a bunch of resolutions and worked to figure out some of our lightmaps.
While working on that, Tiff replaced some of the lights that had been placed within our swamp houses' blueprints in order for them to work as they should.
As our fearless lead gameplay programmer, Will has been in a bit of an "all hands on deck" mode as we work to fix a few bugs we've encountered in the Kristala game build.
With studios owners Allie and Tiffany's combined assistance, Will's been working to figure out why the game hasn't been building properly when we attempt to package it.
After helping to debug and solve errors related to those build issues, Will also worked on refining the behavior of some of our enemies, fixing a few camera issues, and performing some additional menu/gamepad functionalities.
As we move forward, Will continues to be an integral part of ensuring everything runs smoothly in the Kristala demo. ...GO, WILL, GO!
3D Asset Design
We're not really sure what Nick's been putting in his Cheerios each morning, but he's been churning out 3D assets faster than an old-time colonist whippin' up butter for the whole entire village.
...I mean, we're talkin' FAST.
First, Nick worked on three different variations of street-sign poles and placards for use around our Nisargan clan levels. Nick also created an inner portion of the signs to showcase the actual street names.
The signage for the Nisargan clan levels was done in a dark, forest green to match the clan's overall aesthetic, but these will be colored differently for each of the additional clans.
Nick also worked on crafting a blacksmith stall for our Nisarga clan's capital village, where training for the Raksaka Proving will commence for all aspiring Raksakans and chosen Kristalans.
For texturing, Nick wanted to adorn the stall with stone walls, wood detailing, and a beautiful, natural, thatched roof. His first iteration of the roof, however, came out looking more like wood flooring than actual thatching...
To fix this, Nick removed the hard, square edges on the roof and reduced the intensity of the detail protrusions on the stone siding to allow the bake-in substance to become smoother while still retaining the hard lines in the rock walls.
The results were stunning...check it out!
To detail the stall, Nick created some custom assets that will be used by our resident clan blacksmith, including an anvil stump, blacksmith hammer, and furnace.
For the upcoming sprint, Nick will work on a rack to hold various tools, simple weapons, and custom shields for display in the blacksmith stall.
Cass has also been busy this sprint as he continues to work on various weapons and structures we need to complete our demo.
On the weapon front, Cass whipped up a really cool throwing knife and accompanying sheath to add to our growing arsenal of weapons, which is one of the key features in Kristala.
As far as structures go, Cass has been hard at work constructing a few row houses that we'll use throughout various areas of the game, including our great, scorched Nasahara city.
Here's a look at some of the houses Cass has modeled thus far. He'll work on texturing these babies during our next sprint.
This sprint, Bianca worked on texturing the spider enemy she's been working on. Internally, we've been referring to this eight-legged fiend as the "galaxy spider". You can see why below.
In addition to Bianca's icon work (which you can peep in the next section of the dev blog), Bianca will shift gears to creating a few custom wood-nymph characters based on the concepts our artist, Michael, is currently dreaming up.
Be on the look-out for two additional spider enemies coming from Bianca soon.
Menu / UI Design
In addition to her beautiful work on our colorful spider enemy, Bianca continues to beast out the remaining menu icons we'll need for our UI.
Here's a look at some of her most recent additions.
For the past two weeks, Joe's been working on a few light tasks for both Allie and Tiff, fixing some objects that had been placed in the incorrect level areas. He then double-checked that each area's contents were indeed placed where they should be.
Next, Joe will work on planning out the next level, which he'll be tackling without the help of Tiffany. This will allow both of our skilled level designers to work on different areas at once, in effect helping us progress our level creation much quicker.
We can't wait to share shots of the new areas once they've been detailed. Stay tuned!
Animation / Rigging / Production
As you've already read in this issue's Programming section, Allie spent a bunch of her time at the beginning of this sprint working on getting a few of the build and packaging errors we were experiencing fixed.
One of the interesting phenomenons that resulted from this particular problem was an issue with Unreal Engine 4 properly loading some of our textures, which you can see below. The result made our sweet Nisargan look like the demon Anagativa from fleet street...
All jokes aside, after adjusting some of our files, migrating the project, and updating our version of Unreal, the build/packaging and texture-loading issues were FINALLY solved...thanks, of course, to Allie's awesome leadership and intuition.
Once that was handled, Allie was able to shift focus to getting some additional enemies placed into the game and working on navigation for AI in order to allow enemies to both patrol and move towards players during attack.
Allie also upped our enemies' defenses so that they aren't able to be obliterated with one fell swoop (I mean...that wouldn't make for very exciting combat now, would it?)
Once placed, Allie was able to equip the new enemies with the Gear Sword and matching Gear Shield Nick recently created in order to strengthen and highlight the overall steampunk aesthetic of our Kotakayan characters.
Lastly, Allie worked on implementing some additional animations, like the facial expressions and overall sequence for our player character's sitting idle pose. Take a look!
You may remember the beautiful crest for our peaceful Nisarga clan that l_aciel created several issues ago. Its dominant feature was a veined leaf that represents the Nisargans' general motto that nature is the true essence of life.
Since then, l_aciel has been hard at work creating the additional crests we need for our remaining five clans.
Soon, we'll be building out our website's Kristala section to include individual pages for each individual clan that will detail the lore and history behind them. For now, take a look at the beautiful crests l_aciel finished and let us know which ones you dig the most!
Here's l_aciel's first draft of the icons...
...And here are the finished products.
With the crests complete, l_aciel shifted gears to recreate some general concepts for our male and female Anagativan characters. Our 3D modelers will use these appropriately for new Anagativa as we move forward.
Since our Sykomana clan is a hairless breed, l_aciel created a separate concept just for them.
What do you think?
There's just something about Michael's Kotakaya concepts that the world seems to love. This sprint, Michael continued dreaming up a few more rodent-like foes that you'll meet in the full version of Kristala.
Here's a look at Michael's concept for a badass Kotakayan boss...
Once the initial concept for this beast was laid out, Michael then went back in to further detail the front view, sharpening it and making the rat itself look more realistic. He also added a back view to make it super easy for our modelers to bring this concept to life.
Next, Michael will work on dreaming up a few weapons to match this new boss's aesthetic. We're thinking something heavy and two-handed...or perhaps even something reminiscent of a chainsaw. Fun, right?
After weaponry, Michael plans to design a couple wood nymph NPC's for use throughout the Nisargan levels. More on that to come...
Don't forget...you can now find us on TikTok!
Be sure to search for and follow @acs_games on the app to take an even deeper dive into the fantastical, magical world of Kristala.
Enjoying the content you've been peepin' in our biweekly dev blogs? We wanna hear about it!
Throw us a like or a comment on this post if you're feelin' froggy...and be sure to join our Discord community to talk shop with all the members of the ACS Games dev team. You'll get exclusive insight into demo deets and what's coming up next too.
Also, be sure to follow our socials to stay in-the-know about all the exciting updates and announcements we've got coming your way soon.
As always, thanks for your continued support...and thanks for stopping by.
-The ACS Games Dev Team