Alright, party people...get ready for another jam-packed issue of the Kristala Dev Blog. This time, we're feelin' mighty fine as we hit you hard with issue #9!
As you may recall, we decided to put together a super hefty, super juicy, year-end dev blog the last time we met. The response we got to the larger post format was so great that we've officially decided to shift all our dev blog installments to a biweekly schedule.
Now, we know what you're thinking...you're gonna miss hearing from us every week, right? But don't worry too much...you can still keep up with us on a regular basis by joining our Discord community.
Plus, now you'll be getting a big, fat, content-loaded dev blog issue each and every time!
As we get closer to our demo release date, we're churning out more and more dev updates, so sit back, relax, and get ready to digest what we've been up to since ringing in 2020.
Will's been hard at work the past two weeks with our gameplay programming. He recently put together our Kristal Checkpoint UI and added additional functionality to the checkpoint feature itself.
With Will's recent changes now implemented, players have the ability to actually heal when interacting with the checkpoint, and all enemies now properly respawn or refresh.
Additionally, the Kristal Checkpoints have been programmed to allow players to fast-travel between the various checkpoints located in the game.
Will also worked on redesigning some of our stats this sprint so that they're a bit more programming-friendly for the demo. For example, the way our Kris stat (EXP) has been adjusted now allows it to work the way it's intended.
Here's a look at some shots of the Kristal Checkpoint and menu systems in-game, along with a walkthrough of the programming changes made to the checkpoint and a few additional updates featured in Will's most recent video dev log below.
This sprint, Nick worked on customizing our swamp boss model for Hiratrola, the final boss featured in our demo level.
First, Nick retextured Hira, then added some defining details in order to make sure the textures of his facial features were easily discernible from the rest of the facial texturing. For example, once he whitened the model's teeth and added some shading and details that better highlight Hira's eyes and nose, the model is much easier to make out.
Due to some of the story details surrounding Hiratrola's background, Nick also created him some basic clothing and a giant club weapon to really intensify his overall creep (and intimidation) factor.
Nick's other main task this sprint was to model out the tail charms for our player characters, which can be used in-game to achieve special strengths as you progress through each set of clan levels.
For the next sprint, Nick will continue to work on modeling the remaining items we'll need to finish up the demo, like icons for Kris and various other trinkets and treasures. Stay tuned!
Menu / UI Design
Although Bianca's still working on the spider enemies we showed off last issue, she's put that on the back burner for now in order to craft some icons that will be used throughout the game's menu systems.
Bianca's icon work includes items for individual pieces of armor, various weapons, and additional in-game items such as our Kris (XP), magic jewelry pieces, and healing potions. Check it out!
Cass's world continues to be consumed by crafting the stone buildings and houses that will be used throughout the game.
He's officially completed the model for our second stone house, including finalizing the textures and adding swamp-like details such as rust to door hinges and moss to stone siding and roofing.
With the second house now fully complete, Cass has shifted his focus to the third stone abode, modeling out a cylindrical home that's inspired by the below, real-life house.
We'll share updates on Cass's newest stone shelter in the next dev blog issue.
There's some serious magic happening in our game build, thanks to the talented work of our level designers.
This sprint, Tiffany worked on adding a few new mountainscapes to our arsenal of environmental backgrounds. She also made some minor changes to the general layout of the Dalamase' swamp area too.
As Tiff continues to create beautiful, realistic landscapes, the world of Ailur comes more and more to life thanks to the addition of this breathtaking imagery.
Moving forward, Tiff will shift focus to ensuring the level streaming in our demo is properly set up, as well as helping resident animation expert Allie fix up some of our custom combat animations.
Joe has been equally as busy as Tiff since we last met. He finally finished up the design portion of the swamp, as well as adding final details to the in between and background areas of the level and ensuring each sublevel transitions smoothly to the others.
Joe has also worked on setting up pivot points on certain items in the level to ensure they're properly operable, such as openable doors and gates.
For the upcoming sprint, Joe will work on placing a bunch of gameplay-relevant objects and pickups throughout the level and perform some final collision-testing to ensure all elements naturally guide players from one area to the next.
Here are some shots Joe shared with us while working in the game build over the past two weeks. Let us know what you think of the level's progress!
Animation / Rigging
Allie's world continues to be consumed by customizing animations for our player character, including crafting custom foot, tail, and facial animations for various sequences (like guard walking, backstabbing, and idling).
Additionally, Allie started going through all our animations and organizing them into categories in Unreal so they can be used with our various weapons.
As of the end of this sprint, Allie has officially beasted out all the movement animations needed for the demo. She'll now shift focus to rigging and skinning our swamp boss and animating the jumping kick attacks and fast, sudden quick-stepping he'll use during battle.
Here's a look at some of the progress shots Allie shared with us while working on her animations. These aren't the final versions of each one, but you'll just have wait until you play the demo to see them in action.
...PATIENCE, YOUNG GRASSHOPPER.
Allie also took some time to record a quick walkthrough of the progress made to our demo level thus far using the newly animated player character. We're working on fixing collision in the level so the houses can be entered, but here's a nice progress shot.
After finishing up the "Mycotic Menace" track for our poison mushroom boss fight, Lateo spent this sprint revamping the swamp theme for our demo level.
Since the ambiance of the level itself has taken on a much more eerie and creepy tone than when our original swamp theme was composed, we decided to have Lateo compose a revised version to match the updated, darker aesthetic.
This sprint, the ever-talented l_aciel created a promo image featuring the male and female player characters from the nature-loving Nisarga clan.
There's really not much we can say about the piece that could properly convey just how ridiculously badass it is, so we'll just show you instead...
While l_aciel stays focused on our Anagativa characters, Michael continues to work on concepting out some of our Kotakayan warriors.
In our last dev blog, we gave you a peek into Michael's process for selecting fur colors, facial expressions, and body types for the rodent warriors. This sprint, he worked on adding some sets of light armor as well as a few unique weapon designs that perfectly align with the steampunk aesthetic we've chosen for the Kotakaya characters.
Now that Michael has finished up the light armor, he'll move on to creating a few medium and heavy sets too. Tune in to our next issue for updates.
Well, that'll do it for another dev blog! We hope you're just as pumped as we are about the new biweekly post schedule.
We're currently in serious crunch mode on the demo, so you can fully expect more jam-packed issues in the future.
Until then, be sure to follow us on our socials to stay in-the-know about all our exciting updates coming down the line. Thanks for stopping by.
-The ACS Games Dev Team