Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of December 8, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Sent art feedback for final Winter design
* Started art feedback for final Jig design
* Sent title screen image requirements
* Designed initial layouts for Seaside Slime Cove, Den of Kobolds and the Unicorn

Current focus

Final art run (for now) and touching up various features.

Sample stuff

Winter character design

Here in time for Christmas, it’s Winter, the most cheerful and eccentric of the seasonal seraphic sisters! One of the major goals of the story is to meet all four.

Weekly goals

* Integrate animations with ORK
* Make the 2D camera follow the player
* Design layouts for Spring Lake Valley and Winny Spring (and clean up the existing ones as needed)
* Write bestiary flavor text for remaining enemies


Sudden art burst from nowhere! Jig’s (non-alternate outfit) design is pretty much finished except for her color scheme, which means I’ve spent and will continue spending hours of fill tool fun to figure this out. She’s a very colorful dresser like Jelia, who also took a good long while, so making a balance that doesn’t clash but also expresses her personality is difficult. More importantly, Jig is the final character remaining with Flora, so it’s kind of bittersweet, but… that’s it! Nothing more after this. (At least not for purposes of a playable prototype.)

Other surprises: family visit from nowhere! I knew they were traveling all over the state visiting other relatives, but didn’t know it was in the plans for them to come see me for a few days.

Lastly, on the subject of map-making: I feel way too uneasy when designing dungeon maps and I’m going to continue tweaking them. The overworld is a different case. I simply design surprising locations like an elevated crater lake, a desert on a tropical island (hey, Hawaii has one), and a place where rivers, lakes, and the ocean all border. More importantly, each overworld continent is meant to be a self-contained area that people can travel as they please with no right or wrong directions because all of them are progress (even if nothing else is available to do yet, they add 0-EP teleport locations), so designing it is pretty stress-free.

But when I narrow the focus, a single cave or forest has an end goal in mind and has to properly but subtly lead the player. Nothing has warped my opinion and triggered my perfectionism here quite like the Sequelitis Mega Man X vs. Mega Man Classic video: there is such a thing as a correct way to do this!

In most RPGs you could simply design many false roads with treasure at the end, but in a game where the only items are equipment and all equipment is viable from start to finish*, that becomes a tougher balancing act.

Simply making circular paths that ultimately lead in the same direction isn’t an option either since those can be annoying to players, who wonder if they’ve missed something and wind up treading the same ground three times (forward, back, and forward on the other fork).

We’ll get there, though! This is 1) a gameplay element and 2) an element I’m making myself (as opposed to music or pixel art, etc.), so I definitely pride myself on getting it right.

( * Equipment for me is comparable to skill systems in Final Fantasy IX or Bravely Default: not all equipment will be useful for all situations, but all equipment is useful in some situation, so you’re building a collection of swappable “skills” via clothing.)

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