Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of October 20, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Got a 3D model mostly functional on a 2D tile map
* Various story writing done (more than usual)
* Wrote flavor text for Impini, Gigarat, Greatwolf, Kobold Chief, Ogre, Vivavines

Current focus

Wrapping up character art, starting pixel art, and the transition to 2D.

Sample stuff

Flavor text for Kobold Chief:

Kobold chiefs best exemplify evidence of the common races’ belief that this species could develop and become one of them, like the florauna in the past. Chiefs exhibit multiple high-level combat tactics like body mastery, well-timed reinforcements, and even magic. Although their strategies are slightly let down by their middling strength, all kobolds serve exactly the right masters.

Flavor text for Vivavines:

One side effect of the Shield Our Surface mage rotation, instituted centuries ago, was an upswing in vivavines. These plants always existed in small number, having become carnivorous and more animated by absorbing latent energy from the natural mana flow, but they truly flourished with access to barriers and healing magic continually pumped across the planet. Vivavines primarily aim to trap beasts and siphon energy from them for extended periods, but their own success actually keeps their population in check; after draining a beast for a while, they cease to absorb mana and return to being passive vines.

Weekly goals

* Write bestiary flavor text for remaining enemies
* Figure out how to use 2D Toolkit (and other Unity assets if needed) to get basic top-down map movement functional


One step closer. Previously I couldn’t even make a 3D model (the kind more natural to Unity) operate in a 2D space since it was unmovable or would go through things, so, even though functional 2D still eludes me for now, I’m one step closer. That made me happy enough to focus on that for the week, but I’m still not there quite yet. =P

One bright side of this 2D bottleneck is that I’ve never looked forward to writing the storyline more than I do now. I’ve always enjoyed writing flavor text, of course, but the entire beauty of flavor text is that it’s optional and therefore gets to break all the rules. For example, Metroid Prime is proof that “show, don’t tell” doesn’t apply in video games—it earns the right to tell because the telling is both the reward for and a process of discovery. There are entire backstories about the space pirates and the Chozo and you’d never have the tiniest hint of either one if you don’t seek them out in two ways: physically examining each room for scan points and mentally piecing together the scattered information you’re given. That’s the kind of writing that excites me.

Well, that kind and getting cutesy with alliteration and rhyme and rhythm and homophones.

But the player has to see the main storyline.* So my usual free-form fun with writing feels extra pressure to get all the details right, convey few enough to keep things moving at a good pace but also convey a sufficient number that people know everything they need to know, and so on.

That said, pressure is preferable to not knowing what in the world I’m doing for weeks on end. =P Looking forward to finally figuring this 2D thing out…

* Given infinite resources, I’d make a Gameplay-Only Mode where the story is turned off and even the antagonists join the party as playable characters, kind of like the Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones post-game. After all, if they have no story then they have no character, so there are no moral conflicts or personality incompatibilities. Anything goes and the player who turns off the story is rewarded with superior character choices. But given finite resources, well…

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