Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of March 31, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Sent round 2 art feedback for Astrid and round 3 for Autumn
* Added and tested ~260 more fashion effects
* Simplified mechanics of status effects (“real” status effects, e.g. Poisoned, Paralyzed, Asleep, Bound)
* Began prototyping status and equipment menus

Current focus

The status and equipment menus.

Sample stuff

Character design for Celty (click for larger)

Celty has the most playable time and screen time of any character and she’s finally done!

Weekly goals

* Finish layouts of the prototype status menu and equipment menu
* Send in art requirements for character portraits


At last the fashion effects foundation is virtually finished. The exact Style bonuses the effects give are subject to change if I find they need to be rebalanced, of course, but since at least the structure is in place, that’s a minor and easy adjustment. (Think of it like painting the door of a house versus building an entire house.) Over 300 fashion effects to check for and so far I’m not crashing the framework, which is amazing in and of itself. =)

I’ve gotten rolling with the menus. They seem like a simple thing on paper and I figured I’d plow through them. In a way, I was right; implementation isn’t difficult. The fine-tuning to maximize space and not look crowded nor empty, though, is the kind of stuff perfectionists could dwell on forever. Aiming to cut it off after at most a week!

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of March 24, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Finished setting up new computer
* Learned how to configure status menus
* Sent round 2 and 3 art feedback for Hikaru (now finished), round 4 for Celty (now awaiting final art), round 1 for Astrid, and round 2 for Kylie (now finished) and Autumn
* Restructured various fashion effects that were causing infinite loops

Current focus

The status menu followed by the equipment (fashion) system.

Sample stuff

Character design for Sylph Princess Kylie Verde and Cerulean Cleric Hikaru Wilder (click for larger)

Weekly goals

* Create the prototype status menu and equipment menu
* Give feedback on 100% of all art that comes in
* More rigorously test existing fashion effects
* Recheck equipment requirement system and possibly fashion effect requirement system
* Finish off implementation of the remaining fashion effects


Now that I’m fully up and running on my new computer, the fun has been doubled. : D And by “fun” I mean “speed at which I can change stuff” and by “doubled” I mean more like “quintupled.” And boy oh boy did I need it: I had a few fashion effects that consistently crashed Unity because of infinite loops, so tracking down which ones they were and why involved opening the program over a hundred times between Thursday and the end of Saturday since I was (purposefully) crashing it every few minutes.

Of course, the cause of the crashes came from an unexpected way and place, which is why I hadn’t been dealing with them until now… Since this took longer to unravel than if I’d caught them earlier, I’ll be doing more thorough testing of—well, of everything—than I had been before. I believe I can handle equipment requirements more intelligently than I have until now; fashion effects might be in the same boat, but it’ll take some digging on my part.

Looking really forward to this week, though. Last week was super satisfying despite the issues. =)

Tales of Symphonia Text Review and Story Breakdown: Part 5

Originally a script for a video review, so some parts may stick out and, without visual aids, I recommend having played the game already! Note: this is for the original Tales of Symphonia, so if anything changed in the re-release, I haven’t touched on it here.

Quick links to other entries:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

23) Dual Duel Duet

In Meltokio we meet Sheena’s fellow ninja Kuchinawa and some scientists who agree to prepare a boat. The party stays a night at Zelos’ place, where Sheena gets flustered and embarrassed over Lloyd finding out that she likes flowers. Gotta give her that soft side. The next morning, Colette’s shoulder is stiff


but the boat’s ready. They head to the docks where Colette sees the bridge for the first time

Note: Colette couldn’t see anything without her soul.

and calls it gross-looking and Zelos tells her that’s not an appropriate thing to say, even though he didn’t care the last time he saw it. Everyone also laughs at Lloyd for being uglier than The Great Zelos Wilder—I can’t make that up—and then they’re off.

His face loses out to mine, though.

You be the judge!

The boat can be shrunken and transported in a capsule like in Dragonball, which amazes Lloyd. …wait. If shrinking things into capsules is new technology to him, then Noishe can’t be—no. No, I’m done with that part. Not thinking about it anymore.

Before our next destination, the most interesting skit in the game pops up. I remembered it not showing until Flanoir, and even the official manga places it there, but if it can show up here too, let’s go. The Two Chosen skit! The only skit to make it into the sadly-rushed manga.

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Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of March 17, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Mostly set up new computer (installed programs, copied files over, etc.)
* Restructured hidden stats in a more sensible fashion
* Created numerous new stats to flesh out the fashion system further
* Redid all previous fashion effects, redid various formulas, and made other fixes stemming from tweaking the stat system

Current focus

The status menu followed by the equipment (fashion) system.

Weekly goals

* Finish setting up new computer
* Learn how to configure and tweak a status menu; if I get far enough, create the prototype layout for it


After last Monday, I’m so happy I made the call to redo the stats again. It took time, but couldn’t have been more worth it since I got not only a smoother system like I expected, but a couple new ideas in the process. The main one was fleshing out the Fashion Profile stats, which had 14 flavors before and 26 now, plus over 70 new fashion effects to go along with them.

Until now I’ve focused on internal calculations since they’re the gameplay foundation; I’ve disregarded graphics, animations, sound, music, map design, GUIs, player movement, and almost everything that isn’t calculating numbers (damage formulas, equipment bonuses, stat growth on level up), with flavor text being my only exception. But I’ve realized that understanding the ways in which I can present stats externally to the player can influence how I handle them internally, so I should tackle it sooner than later.

This is new ground for me, though! I’m hoping I can figure it out within a few days, but as an amateur programmer I usually can’t tell when something will be easy or difficult, never mind the degree of difficulty, and double never mind that I’m not even the programmer of this framework, so I really don’t have a solid basis for my expectations. Point is that I’m giving myself some leeway here and making that the single goal. =P

In other news, I’ve copied over 90 GB of stuff to my new computer over the past few days… Very few things left to move or install now. Other than that, my excellent artist Flora has finished a crazy month, so we might be getting moving a bit more on that front. : D Completion of Celty‘s design—just one or two rounds away now—will herald the opportunity to draw the title screen with her and Leaf, so that should be especially cool!

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of March 10, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Added new fashion effects
* Implemented ~60 more of them and wrote flavor text for all of those
* Ordered a new computer

Current focus

The equipment system followed by battles.

Sample stuff

Flavor text for “Enchanting Evening Warrior”:

“She’s the dapper girl who wouldn’t feel right without her katana hiding under her spiffy attire. If she disappears from the gala floor for a moment, expect that she’s cut down an assassin in a single elegant strike and returned just as swiftly, leaving no one the wiser.”

Flavor text for “Doubly Dolled-Up”:

“Even small highlights can help create flow from head to midsection and then on to toe. Earrings up top for a smiling face, fingernails painted for hands near the waist, and toenails done likewise for feet down below.”

Weekly goals

* Rethink various hidden stats
* Finish off implementation of the remaining fashion effects and test all of them
* Write flavor text for at least 60% of the fashion effects
* Begin testing battles: damage formulas, battle text, etc.
* Set up new computer (if it arrives this week)


Mostly the same weekly goals as last time, I realize! I missed two main things last week: I underestimated how long it would take to order a computer (over ten hours of research) and I figured there’d be a linear time scale for testing new fashion effects. Not the case! The more I add, the longer it takes to save changes, among other things.

I back a lot of Kickstarter video game projects and I’ve repeatedly seen developers start giving weekly updates and eventually move to monthly or bimonthly because not enough is happening on a weekly basis to report on. Now I understand why. It’s the sane thing to do.

…but I’m an indie developer. I don’t need no stinking sanity! …at least not yet. Weekly updates will continue because I’m pushing myself.

As part of the fashion system, I have various hidden stats like Shoes, Fashion Theme, and Femininity Confidence that I might need to redo following a recent discussion with the awesome developer of the framework I’m using. Changing them would mean redoing all fashion effects, among other things, but if I’m ever going to redo them, it would only be tougher in the future. If penciling out a new hidden stat system tells me this is the way to go, then it’s best to rip that Band-Aid off now.

In much better news, my new laptop is coming, so it’s onward and upward in a matter of days! My current 2007 laptop is a 2.27 GHz dual-core with 4GB memory while my new one is a 2.7 GHz quad-core with 8GB memory and a solid state hybrid drive, so it’ll be a huge performance upgrade all around.