DEVLOG#18 – Happy Holiday ! Closing the year with behind the scene on Alpha Design

Dear Ascenderians,

We meet again 🙂 I am Amethyst the game designer of Ascender. As you might experience from our alpha, there are various type of puzzle or obstacle that is both compulsory or not in order to finish the alpha. It is indicated at the end of the alpha where you are given the information of how many task you finished or item you have.

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Our friend can not collect all the item while testing

 

So, we had design some level with different type of puzzles using box, lever and light rope on Dolopo. We even have developed some level design for districts in Helion. We basically try to create a huge world consist of puzzle laying around the city to explore. But upon discussing with amber, chalcedony and garnet, we need to create a better way to expand the world (so you won’t easily bored) and create a more variative type of puzzle (not just FedEx Puzzle).

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Puzzle Design

So, I go back to my game design guidelines and trying to implement more design on various problem rather than just put puzzle on the Alpha. We added the basic running task (The next level will include a surprise where the environment will change while you are competing with Nippytron), pattern puzzle which is figuring out when is Meowl will land, a simple fedex puzzle that has a night and day attribute, and also we implement jigsaw power up problem where you need to change up the rune in order to grab some item.

Some puzzle that are implemented in alpha

As I mentioned before, in the surface everything looks easy. There are complication when we change what we want to Implement. Dialogue changes, art improvement and I even need to change the level design several time.

That is all from me at the end of this year, I can’t believe that we are already passing the Alpha milestone. We are currently preparing ourselves for Greenlight Campaign. Wish us luck 🙂

Me and all my friend in the studio would wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !!!

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Regards,

Amethyst

DEVLOG#17 – Character & NPC Sound Effect

Hello Ascenderians!

It’s me again, Citrine, Sound Designer from GameChanger Team. I’m so happy to see you read our blog until now.

So far, Ascender the Game has expanded from prototype version, to Alpha Version.

(you can get the alpha version here)

It has been sooo many features added to our beloved game, like the Rune, skills, character, cutscene, background paralax, and also the NPC. This time i will talking about Character & NPC Sound Effect.

First of all, did you know the difference between Character & NPC?

We know that Character is someone / something that we controlled in a game. NPC is different with Character. NPC (Non-Player Character) sometimes known as a non-playable character is any character that is not controlled by a player, this usually means a character controlled by the computer through artificial intelligence.

In Ascender the game, we control Sky as a character. Sky is a robot, so when I want to make sound effects for Sky, I had to make the sound as similar as possible to the sound of the robot movement.

Usually I create the sound effect from Fruity Loops Studio software & edit that sound in Audacity. Fruity loops has many great music & sound. So, I took one tune from FL and bring it to Audacity  to get a great sound.

When I need a sound but not available in FL Studio, i usually record my own sound effect with simple equpment or I’ll go to the website that provides many sound effect for free license. Emmm, but to be honest I don’t like the way to find free sound from the website. So, even though I usually look for free sounds, I still combine that free sound with other sounds, so I produce a new sound. In other words, I can produce a new sound from 3 pieces free sound. Sometimes I also combine a free sound with the sound of my own record.

I will give you an example of sound effects that I use for some NPCs in Ascender The Game.

Meowl is a combine of Cat and Owl. So, i combine the sound of cat & owl here, but the sound of an owl is dominate here, because the main shape of Meowl’s body is a bird.

And Gnallo , is a combine of Gnawer and Armadillo. They are a rodent animal, so i imagine that they have many teeth, so it sounded like it lol. I don’t know what to say..lol

Hmm, just happy playing and enjoy the sound. Cheers 🙂

DEVLOG#16 – Irritating Implementation of Platforming Predicament, Part III: Parallax, Day Night System, and Quests

Hi Ascenderians, nice day to you!

Welcome to this entry of the devlog. I am Chalcedony, a programmer of Ascender and also an apprentice in devlogging. Today I shall be your host in journeying through the backstage of Ascender, giving glimpses of what happened off-stage.

Let’s get acquainted first with what’s going on in the screen. As you should have known from this post, we have the so-called parallax background (and foreground)…

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parallax in action

The day night cycle system…

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day and night cycle

And the quest system…

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quest system instance

Do you ever wonder what’s really happening outside the camera’s bounds? Well, it’s pretty ugly, I tell you, but here goes anyway…

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look at what happens offscreen!

This log wouldn’t be complete without explaining what’s going on! Let’s investigate them one by one, starting with the parallax thingy.

On a 3D world, these are a no-brainer, you just move the camera and parallax effect will naturally happen. On a 2D world, these are conceptually simple, too. You just need to move the background slower, and the foreground faster. Basically, things closer to the camera move faster. It can become a hassle to setup though. For an instance, this messy setup below shows just perfect on the camera.

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what a messy structure!

And then we have the day night cycle. Again, in a 3d world, sunlight can be simulated rather easily using Unity. Too bad they don’t provide 2D light! To make darker scene for night time, I just tint things at different rates. Light from lampposts are faked by shooting spotlights into the scene.

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spotlight shot from the camera

Quests are supposed to be interesting. I thought of making generic quest template, but then it will only be capable of serving generic tasks (delivering things, getting x items, etc.). It would be dull and boring, right? Hence, I have to make a different script for every quest available in the game. Don’t forget to check the information provided in the pause menu when doing quests later!

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map, showing quest hot spots
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quest description

Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes the tour. But your quest isn’t over! Why don’t you stick yourself in the action? Grab a copy of the alpha version now, and let us know what you think!

Ta-ta for now!

Chalcedony

DEVLOG#15 – ParaParaParallax!

Hello Ascenderians!

It’s me again, Jade, the lead artist from GameChanger Team. I’m so happy to see you reading our blog until now, mwah!

So far, Ascender the Game has expanded from prototype version, to Pre Alpha Version. It has been sooo many features added to our beloved game, like the Rune, skills, character, NPCs, animation, and the most important thing is:  Outdoor Background ;D

We all know that in side scrolling game, the most important thing besides the character it self is the background. Without a proper & well suited background, players won’t get the feel when playing, so we put most of our effort to create a beautifully hand drawn background.

At first, we just put our background here and there, then just edit the color a little bit and done. But, then we felt that it dosen’t feel “big” enough to represent our wonderful Goa civilization, so Amber, me, and the other artist decided to make the background with Parallax Scrolling technique

So what is parallax scrolling? here’s the sample image for parallax scrolling from wikipedia

A side view of the layers used for parallax scrolling in The Whispered World

A side view of the layers used for parallax scrolling in The Whispered World

 

It’s a technique in computer graphics where the background images moved by the camera slower than the foreground images, so it creates an illusion of depth in a 2D universe and enhance the immersion for the player. We use this technique to express the beautiful civilization of Goa, under the surface of the world of Ascender. Now I’ll tell you how we make it.

The first step is, we make the focus ground. Amber took charge for all the sketch after disscussing some matters with Amethyst and Calchedony. Then when the sketch done, Peridot divided the layer based from what the buildings and materials.

 

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Raw version

 

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grayscale version

Second, me and Moldavite start to colorize the file from Peridot, one by one, step by step until all done in perfection.  We calculate the materials and texture carefully fofr the sake of semi-realism feel.

 

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Finished Focusground. I’m satisfied with the crystal’s color ❤ Moldavite did a very good job!

Third, we polished the color, mood, etc with Amber, then Amber make another sketch for the first, second and third layer of the parallax scrolling. We made the picture while thinking about the concept art of Dolopo, it look fascinating because of the detail of the residence so Amber decided to draw the residence silhouette, colored with brownish orange watercolor for the 3rd layer, reddish orange and brownish yellow for the second and first layer. By the waayyy we colorize this parallax background layer with water color!  woooooott

when I look at the water colored background for the first time, i thought it won’t work well with the focus ground. The  technique is far different digital and manual, so obvious, right?) the contrast is too off, the texture and feel is different, and so on. But then Fire edit the images with all his might, night and day, and the result were suuper gorgeous when combined with the focus ground.

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Implementation of the watercolored parallax background, beautiful isn’t it?

Then we move to the foreground. We made this foreground to deepen the immersive feelings trough the gameplay, add dimensions and enhance the realistic feelings. All the foreground made carefully to not block the players eyes to seeing Sky walking around back and forth exploring the area.

After done with the foreground, then Calchedony set the camera movement for each layers, set the lighting, and so on.

And here’s the result!

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Ascender the Game with parallax scrolling technique background

You’ll experience the beautifully done parallax technique for the rest of the game on Pre Alpha Version,  so don’t forget to download the game, leave a comment and follow us here and on Facebook for more info about Ascender the Game! ;D

Untill we meet again!

 

Jade