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The Kristala Dev Blog - Issue #21

Hello, dearest of friends and finest of high-fantasy enthusiasts!

Welcome back to the newest issue of the Kristala Dev Blog, a monthly compilation chronicling all the magic and mystery the Astral Clocktower Studios dev team puts into indie ARPG Kristala every development sprint.

The last time we met, we were right in the thick of preparing an early, pre-demo build of Kristala for unveiling at the PlayNYC virtual convention.

While the virtual nature of the event itself prevented us from fully interacting with the folks who downloaded our build and gave it a whirl, we're incredibly pleased with the feedback we received and have been working hard since its conclusion to address bugs and improve overall performance.

We've got a lot of awesomeness to share with you today, so let's get right to it, shall we?


3D Asset Design

As has been the case for the past couple months, 3D Asset Designer, Nick, has steadily been chipping away at the long list of models he's working on that will be used to help detail our Nasahara Ruins level.

Ages ago, the Mad Kotakayan King unleashed a deadly siege on the once-great town of Nasahara, an Anagativan city located in Nisargan clan territory. The crushing attack left Nasahara burnt and crumbling, forcing its frightened denizens to flee to surrounding towns and cities for refuge.

To properly convey the lasting carnage that still haunts the empty streets and throughways of this ghost town, Nick's been focused on adding charred details to all his Nasahara 3D models.

This sprint, Nick started by finishing up the few items that remained on his furniture list - including sound and destroyed variants of two different dresser types, a twin bed, a queen bed, and a bunk bed.

Next, Nick created two variants for all four of the vendor signs that will be featured in the Nasahara Ruins level, then finished up a couple pieces for the Clocktower Park - an area within Nasahara that, as its name suggests, serves as a cheeky little homage to the studio name.

You can get a peek at our current progress on the Clocktower Park in our Level Design section below, but first take a look at Nick's gorgeous signage and beautiful flower boxes.

After finally finishing up the furniture, signs, and flower boxes, Nick shifted gears to his list of assets for the Kotakayan Encampment, a small settlement of Kotakayan sentries that lies within the borders of Nasahara.

He first tackled the Kota commander's tent, table, and chair; then finished up the soldiers' tents and cot, as well as a lean-to tent variant and a few other specific furnishings for important generals and Kota forces.

To round out this sprint, Nick whipped up a few bedside tables, a kitchen table and chair, a cooking station, some cots and stools, a few picture frames, and a set of utensils.

While Nick tackled the models for the small details in Nasahara, 3D Environmental Designer, Cass, continued his work on the enormous and beautiful model for the crumbling coliseum that serves as a focal point of Nasahara.

First, Cass finished up the structurally sound model for the coliseum before going back in and performing some demolition work on the building to give it the same damaged, aged feel as the rest of the ruined area.

Now that he's done with the model itself, Cass will focus on unwrapping the UV's before getting started on the detailed texturing for this colossal beauty.

Last issue, we shared the progress our 3D Generalist, Shelly, had made on her revisions to the six ancient crystal shards that serve as the focal point of Kristala's main storyline.

Before the great Shattering and the coming of the crystals, the Anagativa were just regular felines, and the Kotakaya looked like nothing more than your standard, unassuming rodents.

Because of their importance to both the story and the game, it was important to us to make sure the models for the six Sacred Crystals were not only unique, but beautiful and enchanting too. With Shelly's keen eye for detail (and impressive modeling and texturing skills), she's been able to capture exactly that with her new and improved crystal models.

As a reminder, the three crystals we showed off in Issue #20 of the Kristala Dev Blog are shown first, and the three additional crystals Shelly finished up this sprint are below. Let us know what your favorite one is in the comments section.


The Sykomanans are masters in matters of the mind - gifted in the mental arts of both telepathy and telekinesis. To represent this, Shelly played around with a few different designs before settling on the final crystal below.


Hungry for the light and moved by the intense energy of the sun and the storms, the Lyuminans have discovered how to use their sacred crystal to harness raw energy from light. You can see the intense, bright light captured within the Lyumina crystal Shelly created.

Wondering why there's a big crack in the Lyuminan crystal? You can read about the lesson the Lyuminans learned about never taking more than what's needed in this installment of our biweekly newsletter series, The Sagas of Kristala.


The island-dwelling Keozans claimed their clan territory at the base of a great active volcano. They utilize the hot magma of Ailur's core to forge awe-inspiring weaponry and armor. Their sacred crystal features a fiery inferno of molten rock and flame.

After finishing up her work on the sacred crystals, Shelly then tried her hand at creating a couple "Game Save" icons and graphics to be used throughout the Kristala game.

The colors of the graphics will change based on the colors of the clan whose territory is currently being traversed - or the color of the clan you're currently playing as (we haven't decided which it will be yet, but we're playing around with both options).

For the graphics below, Shelly utilized the bright green of the nature-loving Nisargans. The Nisarga clan is the only clan that will be featured in the Kristala demo. In the full version of the game, you'll be able to play as the Chosen Warrior from the clan of your choice.

Next, Shelly started a base model for our mutant fox enemy.

Though this isn't one of Shelly's most pressing tasks - and she'll be shifting focus to a few action items that are a bit more important in the coming sprint - we'll certainly share updates on this sly fiend as we receive them.

Speaking of more important tasks, Shelly has become the resident texture expert of the Astral Clocktower Studios dev family.

As such, she's been working through some of our old, existing models to give them all a bit of a facelift (like the models for the Sacred Crystals we shared above).

Here's a look at one of the revamped swamp houses that will be featured in the Kristala demo.

As Shelly's last task this sprint, she leant her video-editing skills towards adding some gorgeous effects to the final slides of the gameplay teaser Producer Allie created.

You can get a look at the full teaser in our Game Production section below, but for now, here's a sneak peek at one of the frames Shelly worked her magic on.

Last issue, we shared 3D Character Designer Bianca's progress on the model for our Nisargan forest nymph NPC. This sprint, Bianca continued tweaking and refining the model, adding detailed clothing and experimenting with hair cards and skin color.

Bianca manually did the retopology for the nymph, unwrapped and laid out the maps, baked the details, and started to spend time learning more about texturing in Substance Painter.

We're still refining the details of how these nymphs will interact with our players, but you can look forward to them being temperamental and quick to anger! We can't wait to see what else Bianca does to these beauties to give them that magical Kristala touch.