DEVLOG #41 – Trailer Designer!

Long time no see… Hi Ascenderians, Citrine here.­­­­­

As a Sound Designer, I’ll tell you that the sound designing progress on Ascender is almost done. I just have to make some sound effect for ending scene & retouch background music for ending to the credit title. But, over the development process, sometimes the programmer still give me some input related the audio. Because he is the one who plays Ascender every day on his Unity project, so I think he would understand if there something are less cool both in terms of art or audio.

Here some of my todo list :

  • Ending scene
  • Camera moving up
  • Glow SFX
  • Ocean walking, jump & land
  • Ocean transform
  • Charging SFX
  • Audio ending transition

So,  while completing some audio work, Rubi The Producer told me to make a trailer for Ascender. From sound designer to be trailer maker, hmm, Trailer Designer! lol. Well, to be honest, I was not too great in terms of making a trailer but I’ll try my best. 😀

This time, I’ll make a different trailer from the previous one that I made for Steam Greenlight trailer. The previous trailer is telling more about the arrival of Ocean to the GOA civilization. While the new trailer, I would emphasize to the friendship between Ocean and Sky,  so we can understand the motivation of why Sky want to fight for Ocean. Here is my draft for ‘brand new’ trailer.

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Less obvious? lol, it’s just little sneak peak for Ascender’s Trailer. I’m still working on it probably until next week or the end of June. Asap.

Sorry gtg I have to finish this ‘hopefully awesome’ trailer.

Citrine out. 😀

 

nb: Thanks to Moldovite has given me the idea for this trailer & help me make a draft.

DEVLOG #40 – Everest: The Root

Hi Ascenderians, this time, moldovite is back!! In this blog, I will tell you about Everest.

Everest is one of many districts in GOA’s civilization, it is not a mountain nor a city. Everest is a massive sacred root and becomes the center of religious activities.

So why it so special?

Citizen of GOA thinks that the root is the path to the heaven. It is a sacred bridge that connects the world below to above. Because of that, many people in goa begun to come to Everest to pray for health and success to the almighty.

Just like many focus grounds before, we start it with a sketch before we went digital. For Everest, Amber (the art director) make a sketch like this

And because Everest is the root that connects the two world, it surely has something magical and mystic that make Everest different from other roots. After a lot of discussions, we choose purple and violet for the color of the tree and the surrounding. The color is chosen because they represent the color of magic. mystic and fantasy.

Here is the digitalization of the sketch earlier

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Ta daaa…… The Everest! The root of God!! 🙂

If you look in detail, you will notice that there is a minor change with stair in the upper left, this case happen sometimes, for the sake of game design sometimes we must chop off the art, and adjust it. I think it’s not bad. And like civil war quote “sometimes we need to lose the small battles in order to win the war” so it doesn’t mind me at all.

And that will be our end of this session, let me say my goodbye to you…

Moldovite sign out.

DEVLOG #39 – GameDevs Story Literally

Hi, Ascenderians! Garnet’s here!

Well, right now Ascender almost reach the finish line, but we are still in the pit stop of a few laps to go. Polishing time before the checkered flag waved! So, I have to make my mouth shut to prevent anything spoiled. I want to share my checklist to you at this moment, the big parts before wrapping up:

  • Simplifying some dialogues
  • Grammar checks and corrections
  • Make ups some generic NPC’s Dialogues
  • Detailing the ending with artists and programmers

There’s more things has been done in past weeks. I feel so lucky that I can attend the Casual Connect event in Singapore from 17 – 19 May 2016. I have a chit chat with some story writers and learn some lessons from the story gurus. I’ve met this guy, Scott Chen, the story writer of OPUS : The Day We Found Earth, story driven telescope simulator-like game. He’s fantastic! He shared that the power of his game is the story and the gameplay authenticity. So, I asked him if he had the same struggle that I had as writer, and he’s not denying it neither agree with it, he is quite confident with his English and story concept. Lesson learned : Proof reading and dialogue fixing is one thing but having a confident in your writing is more important. His work is picked by Google Play Store as Editor’s Choice under the name of Team Signal, studio game based in Taiwan.

In addition, I saw another amazing story-based game called Désiré, black and white point and click adventure from France developed by Sylvain Seccia. Best Game Narrative in Indie Prize Showcase! I heard his accent and his speech when receiving the award, his not so fluent in English, I think, but still, he won! So, lesson learned : even English isn’t your first language, but go for it! You still can make the best story! No need to worry so much about it!

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Best Game Narrative in Indie Prize Asia 2016

It’s been a quite remarkable story writer experience for me attending the Casual Connect Asia 2016. Last week, I also met one guy, Cipto Adiguno, the brain behind story in Celestian Tales: Old North, a classic JRPG from Indonesia who awarded as Best Game Narrative and Game of The Year in Game Developer Gathering Indonesia 2015. He’s so humble and we have quite long chit chat about being story writer and struggle delivering a lot of quests and dialogues. Lesson learned : If you find a publisher from US or UK, surely they will help you with narrative issues, but mostly you can make it in low priority because it takes a lot of effort if the number of narrative texts reach thousands. He said that player will understand what you want to deliver if you have a good basic in English.

No need to be so worry about that, visualization and gameplay  is the most important part, you just have to make sure the story is firmed. I’m quite agree with this as in this article said “Realizing that 95% of people won’t remember a thing you’ve written a week after playing……………. They won’t do any of the sidequests, they won’t read any of the lore, they won’t care about any of the time you spent trying to make sure.  And that’s okay.” With all these things connected, my confident is boosting up, as a newbie in game writing world, I feel proud that I can give my idea and writings in Ascender and become part of GameChanger as story writer. When I received the news about we won Best Game Narrative 2016 in Indie Game Festival Indonesia, I feel like “Really? How’s that possible? With all those grammatical errors?”, now I’m assured that I just need to continue polishing Ascender’s narrative parts and never stop learning to write an amazing game story from experienced one. Side Project: Read all those Warcraft’s tales (my book still being captive by Ruby anyway) and start to write Ascender’s  book.

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Best Game Narrative in Indie Game Festival Indonesia 2016

Garnet is signing out from GameChanger Team Headquarter!

 

DEVLOG #38 – Great memories of Casual Connect Asia 2016

Dear Ascenderians,

Packed !!!
Packed !!!

As you probably know from our Facebook page, Ascender has been selected as one of the exhibitor of IndiePrize on Casual Connect Asia in Singapore. We are so happy to show our game from 17 to 19 May 2016.

Ready for flight
Ready for flight

Two member of GameChanger team who went to the event is me, Amethyst, and Garnet. I go earlier on 16 May 2016 in order to attend the badge pick up party but my flight is delayed so I miss the party T_T. The crazy thing is that I am in the same flight with fellow Indonesia’s developer mr. wira and mr. hendrick from Anoman studio who also went to Casual Connect. At the hotel I also met Szymon and Artur from Bulbware who have developed Bulb Boy. We have a long chat and share our experience on developing and publishing game.

Eat and Chat
Eat and Chat

The next day on Tuesday, I go into the event with a provided shuttle bus. I think it is a huge improvement from the previous Casual Connect that I attend two years ago (even though the bus is late). I got excited and have a chat with fellow developers at the hostel I sleep in from Indonesia (Mr. Wim from Agate) and abroad. When I arrived at the event, I realized that everybody else is there and  the shot has started. One noticeable difference when I come to the event two years ago is the quality of the game. The games are awesome and amazing !!!! I am so proud to be part of them.

Ascender !!! Woooott!!!
Ascender !!! Woooott!!!

Garnet arrived on Tuesday night and we proceed to the party. We met with a lot of people from advertisers to publishers. We bring a press kit just in case if we met with the press. We got the idea from fellow developer in Indonesia Kris Antoni of TOGE Productions. you can read more detail here (Its in Bahasa Indonesia). It proof to be quite useful, we are not only using it for the press but also give it to potential partner and also friends in order to have feedback about Ascender.

Presskit
Presskit

After three full days, Garnet and me is exhausted >.< We are happy to some of the things we got from Casual Connect. We met many people who have given us many suggestion on improving both our development and publishing preparations. We also met with many great Indonesia game developer such as Mojiken, Niji, Joyseed GameTribe, Agate and many more. We all input and meetings that we had will help us to help perfected Ascender and market it World Wide 🙂

See you all on my next post!!!

Best Regards,

Amethyst

DEVLOG #37 – Not so Irritating Implementation of Everything…

Hello there!! This is Kunzite, and this is the second time we’ve met here.
So as I said before, as the junior programmer, I’m in charge to add small feature and implement the game assets into the game engine. As this game development approaching it’s ending, – like the lead programmer’s blog’s title: “Irritating implementation of …” – it’s start to irritates me as well (not as irritated as the main guy). Why? Because the work start to pile up as other staff start to unload their stuff together simultaneously and other tiny little adjustments to the game that can be easily missed yet very important that need to be implemented (and yeah, i sometimes forgot some requirements they gave to me while i was implementing other requirements, sorry guys :3).

So my life near the ending of development is full of requirements that come from others like the sound designer with his extra sound effects and audio filter modifications, the artists with adjusting the color level and a lot of new images that sometimes not fit in the stage design so I have to send it back to them or repair some of the images myself to save time, if it not takes much time for me to do it (and don’t forget about checking the images’ size to prevent the game size become too large). Then come the level designer with the puzzle modifications, and the story writer with the dialog altering.

Not just that, most of them is not easy to satisfied, so they adjust a lot. But let’s fight for it! For the greater good! 😀
Now let me pleased your eyes with some good stuff (not just me babbling about life). If you read the early blog from Ruby, it’s mentioned that there is a district in GOA called RAJUMLA (Energy Area). Our art director imagine the district as a very hot area then he came with idea of a cave with flowing lava inside. So to make it flow smoothly, the job’s given to the programmers. The lead programmer code it for a while and he gave it to me to develop it and implement it to the stage. To make the lava is simple, but to generate it to whole area need patient and precicion.
So, feast your eyes !!

lava

All you need is “lava” 😀

Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for checking in and stay tuned for more.

DEVLOG #36 – Making The NPCs

Hello everybody! My codename is Varis­­­­­­­­cite, the new intern at the GameChanger Team. I’m here to help make the NPCs and animate the characters. To be honest I don’t actually know what to write here since this is my first blog post. But I’m going to try and hope that I don’t mess things up. Enough of the introduction, let’s go!

The other artists made such a beautiful environments that it would be a waste that there’s no people living there, right? Don’t you worry! Here comes my role. The NPCs can make the environment more lively. They can serve a variety of functions and reinforce a sense of immersion in the environment.

Screenshot

For example, the market. Market is an environment that allows buyers and sellers to trade or exchange goods, services, and information, a place where people go to buy or sell things and any type of trade takes place. So there will be lots of interaction and activity there. So, in this case I made some NPCs that will fit to the situation. Like a women with a shopping basket and there’s also a kid carrying a paper bag full of things.

npc 3
And there you have it! Villagers that lives in the city. But wait it’s not moving? Is that supposed to be a human or is that a cardboard cutout? That’s where the animation takes place. Let’s start breathing some life into the Characters. After making the NPCs, I break down the body parts (body, head, eyes, and etc.), combine it again in a program that I use to animate, add the bone, and I’m all ready to animate. Most of the characters have 3 animation, which is Idle, Walk, and Talk.

I guess it’s enough for me today, there’s more but that would spoil all the fun! But anyway thanks for reading. Be sure to stay tuned for more interesting stories!

~ Veriscite

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).

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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!