DEVLOG #35 – SO HERE I AM….

Hi hi hi hi it’s the music composer again. Sorry you haven’t seen the last of me yet, but don’t worry. I’ll keep this one brief.

 

Life’s been going in the right direction recently. The game is almost finished by now (well from music perspective anyway lol). I’ve been working on the final song for this game, which is the closing/ending/credit song. This one is easy, since it’s basically just the theme song with lyrics on top. Yeah that’s right, this game has a theme song and you all probably miss it (hint: main menu screen). I’ve already finished the overall structure and the arrangement for the song so now I can sing this song with my trusty guitar. I’ve also sung it to the crew and they loved it. Funny thing is, no one in the crew even knows that we’ve already had the orchestral-instrumental version of the song in the game, and I’ll bet no one who has played it knows it too. And that is one of my favorite songs in the game. Oh well.

 

So anyway, I’ve already had this plan to make JUST one song, a relatively-easy listening song, with lyrics, and just an instrument or maybe two -I don’t know-, for the closing sequence. It’s gonna have the same melody as the theme song (maybe at this point I’ll refer to it as the main menu song since no one has listened to it anyway). You know, the “wrapping-up things” kinda stuff.

 

I also had some pictures on how the lyrics would be, but then the lead artist volunteered himself to write it, and I happily accepted the offer. I told him to make a poem. It didn’t need to rhyme, have a structure, or anything fancy since I’d revise it again anyway. So he sat in his chair for like 30 minutes, and came back with this draft:

 

There is a place
far above the land that we know
far above everything that we ever dreamed
a promising land with magical tales
and there you will be

here I am
incomplete below the land of mist
lost and forgotten in cave of our dream
stranger in an epic community
holding on the promise we’ve whisper
and my journey begins

I Ascend
Through the heart of the universe
Flowing with the wind and light
Catching an electric wave
To push me far away up

I Ascend
Break through every layer of height
Thrusting our heart
Searching our destiny
for us to meet again

So here I am
Ocean In the land of beginning
Hold me, complete me
rejoin with me
Sky of Atlas

 

Which was cool, but I needed to change it a lot so it matched the structure of the song. I also needed to add, remove, and/or replace some words for either rhyming or artistic purpose. Add some instruments, and it’s almost ready.

 

The hardest part is to find a singer. I’ve talked to one of the artist (whose this code-name thingy I don’t even know) to sing. Her voice has the character I had in mind, but she needs to work a little bit on her ability to keep the pitch. She’s not a bad singer per se, but yeah it could do some tweaking. I really want her voice to be in this song to be honest.

 

Everything is almost finished for music. The lyrics for this song are done but they’re not final yet, so the draft is still a secret 😉 I hope you’ll enjoy it when the game is finally released. Until then, see you next time ❤

We did it !!! We are IN.GAME’s Best Game Narrative 2016

 

On 24th April 2016, we were attending one of the biggest Indie Game Festival in Indonesia called IN.GAME. This the second time the event is held in the mystical city of jogjakarta. Only two member of Ascender are going and this is the first time we are going to an event using train.

We would like to thank you for all of your support, Ascender have just received Best Game Narrative Award from IN.GAME Award 2016. At this great event, we were also nominated on other category which are Most Innovative and Best Audio.

To get to know more about the story or behind the scene by the conceptor and writer of Ascender you can check out below post here.

We would also like to thank anyone who’s coming to the booth and try out Ascender.

That is all the latest update from Ascender…

A beautiful good bye from Amethyst 🙂

DEVLOG #34 – CREATING THE WORLD: HELION EDITION

Hello Ascenderians, it’s me again, Jade, the artist of this GameChanger Team.

In this post I want to show you guys how to visualize a server city with a super cold sub-zero atmosphere and also a bunch of cables and metals.

 

You must be wondering what the heck it is lol then here it goes!

 

Remember about the Goa Civilization? No? Let me remind you again then. Goa is an underground civilization created by ancient people for living. Then several years ago, Professor Toro came into Goa and built a bunch of technology needed by citizens to live there completely, like artificial sun light, rain, the cooling and heating system, weather system, and so on.

Helion is one of the big cities inside Goa that has a role for cooling the server machines and cables that distributes the energy to the entire city in Goa. It’s actually a smart city tho. Amber, the art director thought that Helion must be a really cold city because a lot of gigantic machines are built there, so he came up with a sketch like this

Peridot had already blocked the stage so what I did was fill them with magic 😀 😀

Firstly I chose the undertone color for the stage. Because this area is really cold and full of metal materials, I decided to use grey-ish dark blue color for the base with multiply mode on the layer option.

Then I used my magic to the crystals first (they are easier to color, that’s why :p) then….I sadly continued to the metals, AND THIS IS SERIOUSLY THE MOST IRRITATING PART T_T

See? All of them is grey. It makes me feel dull because there are not much color and also…looks so bland L I can’t even entirely describe my boredom when doing this at the time. I also have to work more to the value, deciding which will gonna be the frontmost and the backmost, which will be the brightest and the darkest shade of grey (not referring to the 50 shades one lol). The middle shade contains a wide variety of grey shades, and whether the blue undertone will blend perfectly here, also to make the grey shade not entirely pure grey. Here I have to be carefully decide where to put the lighting tho, because….it’s confusing.

After I struggled coloring the grey part, the fun part rises! The third step will be coloring the details with icy texture, bluish white color and adding a pop of non-blue color to give some variation. I also add a little bit of blue lighting here and there.

And now it’s done! 😀

What do you think about Helion? Feeling cold already? ;D

Please subscribe to our blog to know more about Ascender, and receive any news from us! Also don’t forget to comment down below and let us know what you think about Ascender world 😀

 

Until we meet again!

 

Jade

 

DEVLOG#33 – Quests in Delivering Dialogues

Ahoy Ascenderian Matey! Garnet be here!

It’s been a while since I wrote my article last time. After the prologue story of Ascender, this time I want to share about my challenging quest in creating some in-game dialogues.

1st challenge : wondering

This my very first challenge when I had some discussions with the game conceptor and the game designer. We discuss a lot of things verbally and it flew like a water in a river when its happening on my imagination. But when I start to open my computer and face the document file for dialogues,  most of the times I  stuck wondering what the NPC should say as we discussed before. I’m an action game and RPG lover, then it’s causing first thing in my imagination is about voice over. Here is the real deal! Ascender doesn’t have any voice over in-game, it’s all about text based dialog that some words or messages are easier to deliver them verbally / directly with voices. When a player are having a game experience, he or she doesn’t know about my imagination is all about. So, I have some limitation in expressing voices on my head into some texts (I have to remind myself to think about Pokemon Mode or some 2D Isometric online gaming mode).

tumblr_mzbfzboqu11tpdfzvo1_400
Pokemon’s Dialogue Example
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RPG Dialogue Example

2nd challenge : characters, the way they think, the way they feel

Okay, I have been criticized in this matter so often  by teammates. It has the connection with the 1st challenge where I have to feel the same way or at least think the same way as the character that I’ve made (not all the characters that I made, anyway). Some of the characters inspired by real persons around me, but others are just made by the creativity or real person that I’ve never been interact with. In example, Professor Toro Hudo is the main character, I met some professors before and know exactly their style when we had a conversation, but I never knew they had limbless child or not. Is Prof. Toro say the words like a wise man? yes? But does he feel stressed about working on Ocean’s limbs? Is he never gone in a lunatic mode? And so on….. So, first time I make Professor Toro didn’t have any stand out character, all of his dialogues just flat as new cutting board :

“I think it is the sound of boiling pot downstairs. Sky, please turn off the pot.”

I’ve been scolded by my friends. I think again “Toro is a professor that so detail and dedicated in his work, so sometimes he forget what he did before and become panic after realizing it”. To deliver this idea, the dialogue became :

*Sizzling sound effect*

“Oh! I forgot to turn off the stove downstairs. Sky, please help me to turn it off!!”

There it goes all the way around….

3rd challenge : clue

Hah! My game designer is my enemy in this case!! Hahahahaha. Nah, I don’t really mind it. But this is also tough challenge. Why? Because sometimes it is really weird when I want to express the character but also have to deliver clues about a task or background story(easier because I’m the one who made it) or location. For the example, my game designer created one NPC to give a clue about who Sky has to find, NPC name is Stressed Villager :

“Someone call Marcel in Mustang, please! My life is ruined if this elevator can’t work!”

See? It’s weird if just looks like that, I break it down into 2 dialogue section :

“Darn it! No..no…no…! Why’s the elevator out of order?! I’m going to be late! I’ll lose my job!”

“Someone call Marcel, The Head Techinician, in Mustang, please! My life is ruined if this elevator can’t work!”

There’s 2 added points that I want to be clear about in revised version. First, the stressed character have to stand out. Second, the reason of finding Marcel, because he is the  head technician!

Simplified words for this challenge : Motivation and reasoning of clues.

4th challenge : length

This is the stuffs that I learned about. I just copy and paste the first point of that article and you may know what’s the deal with this matters and the relation with previous challenges.

1. Concision -“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

Has Hofman was onto something when he said that.  Concision is probably the absolute most important quality any writer, of any medium, can develop.  Verbosity kills, especially in this day and age where writing needs to be clear, concise, and interesting.  Dickens would not have survived long as a writer in the games industry, but Hemingway might have.

Think of a simple example, say, of an NPC asking you to kill some wolves for them.  It seems like some variation of this quest has appeared in every game in history, so let’s start off with a base example of terribleness:

“Hail, noble traveler.  Please, permit me to beseech your aid.  I am Jammers, a peasant in service to Count Argyle.  A pack of wolves have taken to my flock of prized sheep.  I intended to give one to the Count as a tribute for this year’s harvest festival.  If you kill 10 of them, I will reward you with 50 gold pieces.”

So much pointless information.  There are 62 words in the exchange above, you can get that down to half, or even a third.

“Traveler, help me!  Giant wolves have taken to my flock.  Kill 10 and I will give you 50 gold pieces.”

Much better.  In 20 words you’ve delivered every bit of relevant information the player needs to know what to do.  They need to kill some wolves to get the gold.  It’s not the most exciting sentence ever, but it gets the job done.  The essence of concision is understanding what you yourself are trying to say and helping you put it to paper.  Once you’ve sheared away all the fluff and gotten to the heart of what needs to be said, everything else is pie.

5th challenge : fonts, grammatical and punctuation

Well, I’m not so excel in my English and often make mistakes in this matter. Not without consideration as I’m taking the act as the writer with my “not so excel in English”. I’m just careless in delivering the right English. Yeah, this challenge is actually I’m dealing with myself. Luckily, one of the art team has a good capability to do the proof read! She’ve been a great help for me! Woohoo!

Moreover, I also use these three things to show some characters in NPC. For example, the illiterate butcher, Vincent Ursa :

“Bucket… Empty… Upstairs… Need….. Water…..”

or the angry meat trader, Zlatko Boban :

“If you’re in business with Vherand again, ASK HIM WHERE ARE MY SHARPENED METALS?!?!?!”

I hope you see the difference between those two NPC’s character.

Garnet is signing out from GameChanger Headquarter!

 

DEVLOG#32 – Designing the Puzzles

Hello Ascenderians,

Can’t believe that it is my turn to write, it has been a challenging weeks toward the next version of our game.

During testing, some players said that the “Boss” Puzzle in Ascender is quite intense. Well, as a designer I never really think that the puzzle that they describe is actually a Boss puzzle. I like to all it Intense Puzzle where player is given a task to complete a puzzle with a pressure (it can be time or annoyance).

I use Intense Puzzle is used for two purpose,  first to validate that user know how to use certain skill and the second is truly a challenge for the player to face in order to progress the game.

The first example of Intense Puzzle is B.RO Puzzle in the beginning of the game. I use the puzzle to validate the skill that is newly acquired skill (Double Jump and Hook) and let B.RO chase them down in order to heighten the intensity of play. We even test the player to use the skill accordingly in order to get away from B.RO

Run !!! Sky... Sun !!!
Run !!! Sky… Sun !!!

After this player are tasked to finish not so obvious puzzle, and I call it hidden puzzle. This type of puzzle is where player probably saw an item but can not get into it. Some puzzle can not be directly solved since some of them uses skill that player may not have yet. In the public preview, there are a lot of these type of puzzle that you can found.

Well, I need the box to jump higher.
Well, I need the box to jump higher.

Player will not also find many type of puzzle, there are also quest that is affected by circumstances of the world. This quest includes a race with nippytron, capturing pet called gnallo and many more. Try out the public preview in order to find more type of this gameplay.

run1
Let the race begin!!!

There are more type of puzzle in Ascender but mainly it is the variation or combination of puzzle that I just mentioned above. I guess that is all from me right now, see you in another discussion.

 

Best Regards,

Amethyst

DEVLOG#31 – Creating the Dynamic Environment [Intern’s Journal]

Hey guys, I’m the new intern on the team. They call me Hessonite in the team and this is my first time writing a blog. So, on this very first blog, I’m going to talk about what am I doing on the team. Here I go!

So, let’s imagine a game take place in spaceship with some monitors. Then imagine if those monitors shows some numbers,  blinking lights, and maybe a rotating cube. Those animated monitors is what you want to call as dynamic environments. Don’t you think some moving objects could make an environment look more real and lively? Well, that’s what dynamic environment is all about. As you can guess by now, I’m in charge of dynamic environment for Ascender, and I’ll give some examples of what it’s going to look like.

Linear Glow Version 2 Preview
Linear Glow for Open Mustang Puzzle Environment

This animated line is pretty simple to make actually. You just need to make a line with pen tool on After Effects and give that line a trim path effect.  What does trim path do? It gives the line a write on effect by manipulating the end value. If you set the end value to 0, the line will look like this.

gambar dio (a)
Linear Glow – Frame 0

And if you set it to 100, the line will look like this.

gambar dio (b)
Linear Glow – Frame 100

If you set the 0 value at frame 0 and set the 100 value at frame 100, your line will move exactly like the animation above. Pretty neat isn’t it? It doesn’t look all that great, does it? Well, that’s because I have limitations of how big the file size can be. It is understandable if you count all of these dynamics I have made for the game (more than 20, and it’s increasing). Just Imagine if every of them have the size of 100 MB, Ascender  size will become big, so big that you have to spend more time to download it. #sizematters

Here’s some of the dynamic environment that I have made for Ascender.

Medic Screen 1.0
Medical Center Screen
Static Noise 2.0
Static Noise on City Board

I think that’s it for now. I have said what I wanted to say. See you later guys.