Welcome back to the riveting, the joy-inducing, the awe-inspiring Kristala dev blog! We're coming to you live and direct with Issue #18 and we can confidently say...it's gonna be good.
But before we dive into the real meat and potatoes of the development for this sprint, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of the heavy events that are currently affecting our world.
As you know, our mantra here at ACS Games has always been one of inclusivity, togetherness, acceptance, and love.
Now more than ever, it's important that we elevate the voices of those who've been silenced and support the movements and organizations that are dedicated to eradicating racial injustice in America - and beyond.
To all the talented Black developers, streamers, artists, musicians, and content creators - to all our Black friends, family members, coworkers, and community members: We see you. We hear you. We stand by you.
If you'd like to help end racial injustice in America, we've provided a list of organizations you can donate to, follow, and support at the end of this post.
This sprint, Will kicked things off by creating and implementing a "boost" system that allows staves to possess an affinity with a particular element, which in turn boosts the damage caused by spells that share an element with the staff.
Will also removed the jumping ability from the game and fixed a few bugs regarding the targeting of spells—like the Earthquake spell and the Impaler's special ability. Then he worked on the Behavior Tree for our Dalakin enemy and sorted out some things for our Gilsanka enemy’s BP to improve combat with each creature.
Check out both the acquatic Gilsanka and crab-like Dalakin in action!
After that, Will created and implemented a system for various charm items, allowing players to acquire special charms in game that will replace a normal Special attack on a given weapon with the one from the equipped charm.
He then worked on making both the Save and Load functionality work alongside our Kristal Checkpoints before setting up our Crystal Shine spell. This spell is meant to help illuminate the player character so that players themselves can see better in the game's dim environment.
Will then implemented another new spell - the Reaping Winds spell, which actually tracks enemies within targeting range and deals them damage over time.
This spell is definitely one of our favorites. ...Just look at those visual effects.
Which spell has been your favorite so far? Let us know in the comments.
After setting up both new spells, Will addressed a bunch of smaller things that needed done, such as moving the sprint functionality to the right-face button, setting up sprint vs roll functionality, fixing an equipment error, and correcting the sound on destructibles issue.
He then implemented and modified the Skill tree system so that it’s demo ready and added a wearable "light" item category before setting up functionality to allow players starting a new game to begin with several necessary items (weapons, armor, potions, etc.) in their inventory.
To round out his busy sprint, Will set up a system for sound design that allows us to switch the music and ambience as the character moves from one level area to another using certain triggers. Check out this functionality in action below.
3D Asset Design
This sprint, Nick started tackling a long list of tasks our level design team has requested in order to detail and build out the intricate world of Ailur.
First, Nick created this super awesome dangling mushroom that emits a soft, glowing light to help illumine the player character in game and allow players themselves to be able to properly see in the dark level environments we've created.
Nick then moved on to creating some additional walls that will eventually line the barren throughways of our Nasahara Ruins level. The walls' scorched texturing alludes to the carnage that has taken place in this once-great city.
You can read more about how the Nasahara earned the nickname of "The Scorched City" by checking out the newest installment of our epic, story-based newsletter series, The Sagas of Kristala. The series details the characters and events that drive Kristala's gameplay.
The next item Nick checked off the list was the statue of Ellaria, a great Nisargan warrior and the very first of the revered Raksaka. We especially love the gnarly vines Nick added to the statue that represent its age and its overall state of decay and overgrowth.
The statue was raised to commemorate Ellaria's epic journey and now stands watch over all of the Nisargan clan lands - a silent sentry that represents both peace and hope to the Anagativa.
To round out the sprint, Nick crafted some custom pieces of furniture that will further populate the swamp houses of the Dalamase and the row homes of the Nasahara.
All pieces of furniture were purposefully modeled and textured to represent a general state of decay and neglect...adjectives that lend to the abandoned nature of many of our levels.
While Nick worked on furnitures and details, Cass continued creating the various architectural structures that will be used throughout the Nisargan clan levels. Specifically, Cass spent this sprint modeling more forest townhouses that will populate our swamp villages.
Here's a peek at his progress thus far.
On the character front, our newest modeler, Shelly, continued creating the new model for our Anagativan character.
Shelly's still slowly chipping away at making these perfect, but here are some updated shots from her most recent modeling sessions.
When she's not working on the Anagativa model, Shelly's been applying her texturing talents to some of the existing assets both Nick and Cass have previously created.
First, Shelly gave a little facelift to our magic, crystal essence-infused lantern-fruit trees.
Next, Shelly turned her attention to our Nisargan market stands and swamp houses. We can't wait to see what else Shelly has up her metaphorical sleeve to make our existing 3D assets even more realistic and lifelike.
To round out this busy sprint, Shelly whipped up some custom textures that will be applied to the blacksmith stands located in each the six Anagativan Clan Capitals.
In addition to the loading screens you'll read about in the next section, Bianca leant a fresh perspective to the Anagativa model Shelly's been working on.
Since these anthropomorphic feline models are our playable characters, it's important we make sure they're juuust right, which is why a second pair of modeler eyes seemed a good idea.
We're really digging the refinements Bianca added to the model thus far and can't wait to see how Bianca and Shelly's combined talents ultimately blend together to make the perfect Anagativa model.
As you know by now, Bianca is our go-to gal when we're in need of menu and UI assets. This sprint, she continued crafting the various icons needed for the game's multiple menus systems.
Here are two fresh icons for two of our newest spells.
In addition to the icons, Bianca designed a few loading screens that will be featured in the Kristala crowdfunding demo. She also tried her hand at creating an animated loading sequence featuring one of our signature crystals.
Which loading screen are you diggin' the most so far?
If you've been following our journey thus far, you know Joe's been working tirelessly on making sure our Nasahara Ruins level is adequately detailed and loaded with little tidbits that hint at the destruction that ravaged this once-flourishing city.
This sprint, Joe continued his work on the Nasahara and started adding in some of the scorched and unscorched walls Nick has created.
We can't wait to apply music and atmosphere to this level area once it's fully detailed.
While Joe focused on filling in and finessing the Nasahara level, Tiffany leant her attention to the murky Dalamase. Feast your peepers on these breathtaking screenshots she snagged featuring our gorgeous, magic-infused lantern fruit trees.
Tiff has also been building out the Dark Forest and the Nisargan Cave level areas, adding all our custom, crystalline flowers and magical plants to the levels to give them just the right amount of creep factor and fantasy.
Get ready for your first look at the uber-enchanting Dark Forest, and be sure to catch Tiff workin' her magic on this stunning landscape during her LIVE Dev Streams.
Stop by the Kristala Stream Team Corner at the conclusion of this issue for info on where and when you can catch Tiff and the rest of our stream team in action.
For the cherry on top of her jam-packed sprint, Tiff brought the beautiful statue of Ellaria Nick recently created into the game build. It looks pretty sweet, right?
Animation / Rigging / Production
Last sprint, we shared some of the progress Allie made on the rig for our Masarusa enemy. This sprint, Allie was able to finish the rig and get the Masarusa properly imported into Unreal.
Once imported into Unreal, Allie noticed some issue with the skin weights on the rig's root hair, face, and hands, so she readdressed the rig to make sure this mini-boss looks perfect before applying animations.
Once the skin weight issues were fixed and the model was properly imported, Allie then began creating a bunch of the Masarusa's animations and applying them to the rig.
In particular, she implemented a bunch of custom spitting animations for the enemy’s unique bloom-tongue attack (which we can't WAIT for you to see).
We'll have videos of the animations soon, but for now, feast your eyes on these incredible shots Allie snagged while sharing her progress with the dev team.
In addition to working on the Masarusa enemy, Allie also shared a bunch of really beautiful shots she snagged while working in the game build this sprint. Behold the sheer beauty!
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.
If you haven't heard, members of our dev team have been streaming their work LIVE every evening at 9 pm EDT (except for Mondays).
Studio owners Allie and Tiff share their tips and tricks on rigging, animation and level design, and lead programmer Will walks us through the inner workings of Unreal Engine 4.
To close out today's post, we're sharing some ways that you can directly support organizations that are dedicated to ending racial injustice in America.
THE BAIL PROJECT
The Bail Project is a non-profit organization designed to combat mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system ‒ one person at a time.
"We believe that paying bail for someone in need is an act of resistance against a system that criminalizes race and poverty and an act of solidarity with local communities and movements for decarceration. We won’t stop until meaningful change is achieved and the presumption of innocence is no longer for sale."
BLACK VISIONS COLLECTIVE
Black Visions Collective envisions a world in which ALL Black Lives Matter. They use the guidance and brilliance of their ancestors as well as the teachings of their own experiences to pursue their commitment to dismantling systems of oppression and violence. They are determined in pursuit of dignity and equity for all.
THE ATLANTA SOLIDARITY FUND
The Atlanta Solidarity Fund bails out activists who are arrested for participating in social justice movements, and helps them get access to lawyers.
Protest movements play a critical role in the struggle for social justice, but when people stand up for what’s right, they often face the risk of arrest and imprisonment. Getting arrested can be demoralizing and make targets feel isolated, overwhelmed, and abandoned. By supporting arrestees, the Solidarity Fund helps show that nobody in these movements will be left behind.
RECLAIM THE BLOCK
Reclaim the Block started in 2018 and organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety.
The organization believes health, safety, and resiliency exist without police of any kind and organize around policies that strengthen community-led safety initiatives and reduce reliance on police departments.
Well, friends...that'll do it for Issue #18 of the Kristala game dev blog. We had a lot of fun rounding up the updates for this installment, and we hope you've been enjoying following along on our dev journey.
If you're diggin' what you're seeing, be sure to register for a site account and leave us some love in the comments section or hit us with a heart react. You can also join our Discord community to chat directly with the members of the ACS Games dev team, share updates from your own projects, or just to hang out.
As always, dear friends, thank you for your continued support...and thanks for stopping by.
-The ACS Games Dev Team