Shoot for the Stars Devlog 39: Potpourri
Hello Everyone! Mystic Mask Media has had a few celebrations this month! On June 2nd, 2020 we released Hyde & Zeke on Steam. To commemorate this, we also did a gameplay anniversary livestream on our Twitch channel. For those that missed the stream, you can take a look at our YouTube video below.
Mystic Mask Media as a company also has now also celebrated 3 years of game dev. Let's take a trip down memory lane with some big highlights:
Rob C. Miller
Lead Illustrator/ Game Design
Redos, redos, redos. This month was more of that, however I did get done with all of the crucial ones, and even finished some additional ones with less priority. This coming month, while I have not updated literally everything I’ve done before, I’ll be now turning my attention to the Event Editor. The nice thing is, there is not much left redo-wise. There are only a couple of very low priority things and some stuff I have to wait on first. For now, I’ll be aiming to start getting bits of the actual game sewn together, even if it means using place holders for now. It’s best to see if everything works first before we add the polish.
So, for the month of July, it’s time to get reacquainted with Ms. Event Editor. As a reminder on how it works, I type in words, while also linking to files, and out comes the sequence of the game, whether it’s the unfolding of the story through the visual novel, or the transporting to the various scenes in the game. Once we’ve got this “skeleton” of the game in place, we’ll have a good idea on what else we’ll need in order to complete this demo and let you all play.
I know that there are a number of you that have been patiently waiting all this time. My associates and I are very grateful for your patience and we hope to deliver to you in the foreseeable future. We, unfortunately, had a bit of a wrench thrown into the operation, known as the “big art style change”. I’ll admit, too, that life has gotten in the way, and still does, but know that we’re still trucking along to get this product out there. Luckily, the art change happened earlier than it could have, which minimized the damage of backtracking.
I’m aiming to have a fair bit of news for you all during the next month, so stay tuned for that. For now, I’ll hand it over to one of my associates.
This month has had a focus on social media related content and research as well as continuing the art style changes, making the sprites more dynamic, as well as a big TerraZone photoshoot.
In regards to the art assets, I have been continuing the work on the background art for the visual novel parts of the game. Most notably, there has been focus on the intro sequence and the various locations as seen in the demo.
Being also the big social media person in the team, I have been in contact with our musician “Swyka”, and as usual, he’s been delivering amazing content into our project. We very recently went over all the sounds for the demo of the game. We’ve been making sure the sounds and music all feel like they are part of the same universe and I am confident today that the soundtrack is not going to disappoint!
I have also taken the time to research further on the Spine animation program, as I wanted to make the sprites even more dynamic than they where. One of the current artistic "tests" I'm doing is making the linework itself more dynamic by having the line art animated as well. We have also started transferring the new art style to the new sprites and prepping them in a much more optimized way for Spine. With further discussion on the sprites, something we learned from Hyde & Zeke was to add a “run” animation.to our main character. In creating Hyde & Zeke, we initially only had the “slow walk”, but since Shoot for the Stars is planned to include a much larger scale of exploration, we decided it would be best to include the ability to run faster around the map.
A big part of this month was also prepping for a big TerraZone photoshoot, which we already shot with Photographer @shanem201 on Instagram. He’s been a huge help in the past with conventions, as well as a long time supporter of the TerraZone card game. This photoshoot is planned to launch publicly in July alongside some other big TerraZone related updates.
Programmer/ Game Design
With this devlog comes a fairly small update. I know, quite the disappointment; however, sometimes life happens. While this month was slow, that isn’t to say nothing got done.
Upon working more on the AI behaviors, it came to my attention how there were no instructions to any aspect of the battle system. I decided to focus a little on user feedback this month.
My solution was adding a new pop up for user instruction. This was designed with varying text size in mind, as the pop up will resize dynamically to whatever text instruction I require. While plain text is nifty, it’s important to guide new player’s eyes to this information.
I decided to try to match the aesthetic of the turn counter already in the corner. The text will resize and rotate randomly to create a unifying theme to the UI, and to draw the player’s eye to the information.
Finally the tip menu uses the existing Task Manager system to allow the insertion or deletion of instructional pop-ups mid effect or task resolution.
With that we can now easily display tutorial information to players during battle. Of course this isn’t the most ideal advancement for tech this month. I plan to lean harder into resolving attack functionality next month. Until then, look forward to more updates.
Thank you everyone for tuning into another update. We'll be continuing to add more to the event system and story! The next big update will be 7/30/2021. Make sure to follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates. The demo gets closer and closer to complete with each passing week, so see you next time TerraZone Fans!