Sunday, 28 October 2018

Additions, fixes, story + OST

Hey,

This week I've been creating some new mechanics and some fixes, including:
New:
>Normal, Easy and Very Easy (Journalist) difficulty settings
Easy raises regen, health, attack, defense and accuracy a little, if you want to feel powerful.
Very Easy is for anybody who just wants the story content, this makes battles a cakewalk.

>Ability to set waypoints for enemies and allies to travel toward with adjustable tolerance radius.
Added a simple override to tell enemies or allies to make their way to within [x] squares of [someplace] without altering their AI or target.
Eventually I want to let players set waypoints for controllable allies, but right now i'll use it for story battles or neat scripted maneuvers.

>Health regenerates at the end of turn based on how many Move points you have left
So now there's actual value in skipping your turn if you're low on health at a safe distance

>New subtle UI for Hentai scenes, with option to switch back to old.
The old version was too much like a subtitled movie, I felt I had to choose between watching the scene OR reading the stats.
The new version has two translucent bars fill up on the left and right edges of the screen, so you can see the progress passively in your peripheral vision, without needing to look away to read digits.


Fixes:
>Fixed RNG function I wrote in my first week of JS and didn't realize was broken, which under certain circumstances would return stupid fucking bullshit results.
"Hey, computer, gimmie a number between 3 and 12."
"Uhhh... 14?"
"Cool, thank you."

>Fixed ability to skip dialogue using fast forward- no longer need to wait for full sentence to play out
This should have been fixed before the public demo went out, but it's there now, so you can skip freely.

>Added optimizations which may help fps on low-end systems.
I wish I knew exactly what caused this. Sometimes just starting the game a second time fixes issues for my netbook.
The game is built on v1.3 with some patches to bring it closer to 1.5 functionality, but I can't upgrade my project files beyond that because of some vital plugins I'm not smart enough to write new versions of.

>Made battle cleanup function safer, to avoid case-by-case bandaids previously in place for scripted battles
Sometimes I'd delete an event in the editor, leaving a gap in the numbering, which would be taken by the next event made on-the-fly. If that event happened to be, say, a temporary battle cursor and got hard-nuked after a battle, it might move everything down one, breaking all events. This happened to me twice during the demo building, so I created a new NPC to fill the hole, but I shouldn't have to do that now in future.

Story & Art:
This week I've been writing and planning the new scenario; the skeleton is basically there, it just needs more content and detail before I get fully underway.
I've been creating new script functions I'll need (eg. waypoints, mentioned above), doing girl design and the early stages of creating the new scenes.

Music:
Since the music files with the game are low-quality loops to keep file size down, I'm slowly putting together a high quality OST release of tracks released so far, which I'll work on if I get blocked or need a breather from story planning this week. Not sure when it'll come out, because the new level has to be top priority.

That's it from me, thanks for reading!
oko


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Progress update

Tuesday still counts as Sunday Progress, right?
Sorry it's late, I wanted to give myself and everybody else some notification breathing room after what's been a pretty full-on release weekend!

So, it's out, a week later than I'd hoped but all the stronger for that.
The reaction has been incredible, I feel so lucky.
In just two days, the thread on f95zone has had nearly 50% of the traffic my previous game got in 18 months.
That's such a great feeling.



People have been super nice about it, too, seeing people praise something you made feels really surreal. I'm just a guy, a literal who, but people like it so I'm gonna keep doing it.
That said and appreciated there have also been a couple of problems people highlighted, mainly on lower-end systems, so I'll be spending part of today fixing things now that will improve all releases in future.

It's hard to tell how much is RPGMaker's fault and how much is my own, but today I'll be tweaking / turning off certain functions I've added and seeing if I can get more performance on my lower-end device.
If so, I'll rework it to be optimal for all users, if not I'll put a pin in this and go back to working on the new content.
I'm time-boxing this for a few hours, though. I really want to get any engine issues flattened out, but these performance issues are affecting a small percentage of users and my main priority is creating new content.

Issues highlighted:
Esc functionality during conversations:
It was brought to my attention that pressing escape during conversations sometimes picks the default answer, sometimes does nothing. This is technically by design, as I just turned it off for some multiple-choice sections to avoid people making storyline-changing decisions on a whim, accidentally or through habit.
I'll bring the remaining ones up to standard. I think I want Escape to skip dialogue but not select anything by default, that way choices are sort of hard gates that require player confirmation to continue.
Ultimately, I think if we skip choices, how much of the game are we actually still playing?
Performance:
I've heard of slow performance on low-end computers so I'm spending a little time today debugging with my GPD Pocket and trying to find out how much my scripts or plugins I use are to blame for that, and if so how much I can work around it.
From the CPU profiling I've been running, it seems as though the most intensive operations are those built-in to RMMV, with my most expensive scripts accounting for much less, which is a load off, but doesn't really solve anything.
There are a couple of suspicions I have for ways I've co-opted or changed behavior of built-in functions which may be contributing to lag and might benefit from some rework.

____________________________________________

Progress toward next level:
Rough storyboard for the next level is done, I just need to do some passes on it, flesh things out.
It takes place on a space station and there are many rooms planned, but I need to make sure each of them is worth going into for one reason or another.
I don't want to just have rooms there for the sake of more space if there's nothing in there to do, hear, read or apply BENIS.

Work continues, thanks so much to all the new faces on Patreon, this is all for you.

Your pal,
Oko

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Public Release Tonight!

00:00 GMT

x

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Star Knave v1.0.1 + 1.0.2 patches



Thanks so much to everybody who's played so far. There are still a couple of days before it goes public, so thanks for not leaking it out ahead of time, I appreciate it.

I've updated the demo to 1.0.1, following some fixes, feature additions and prepping for future levels.
No significant content (scenes etc) have been added, so if you've played 1.0.0 already, this isn't strictly necessary:

Rather than post again, edits to add notes from 1.0.2, marked green.

Additions:

  • Weapon Comparison Sheet when looking at quest/found/non-looted weapons.
  • Character Sheet now in Inventory menu, shows stats including equipped weapon.
  • Control hints on [F1] with flashing hint, supplements tutorial.
  • Better Lonnie busts for the final cutscene.
  • Optional combat effects.
  • Optional UI sounds.
  • Script to kill now-useless properties from dead enemies on battle end. (Reduces save file complexity, which can be a problem after battles)

Changes:
  • Spelling and minor story fixes.
  • Projectiles more glowy and some NPC sprite touch-ups.
  • Battle music replaced, now full-length.
  • Items given to others now removed from Inventory.
  • Object accessibility tweaked (no viewing posters through walls).
  • Switched scheduling system to one that supports future levels.
  • Text boxes now force transparent for the duration of cutscenes (more space to see boobs).
  • Changed text coloring & voice system to not be reliant on npc objects, for greater freedom and to cut down on excess properties.
  • Removed compression plugin, it was causing more problems than it solved.
  • Story changes to make a little more sense.
Links:
[Download latest Build]

Sunday, 14 October 2018

I DONE IT

Hey, how's it goin'?

So I put out the first build last night, then I took Saturday night off to recover from an erratic week. I definitely overdid it, as far as my head and eyes were concerned, but even so it felt pretty great.

I couldn't quite shake the worry that the demo wouldn't be well received, because I know in some ways it's a departure from my previous work, so I still checked in for emails, mostly to make sure nobody was having horrendous crashes or anything but the reaction has been wonderful, only a few bugs (spelling errors or information that could benefit from being clarified) reported and I feel so, so blessed by the general tone of the response, I can't even you guys.
It's really difficult to regret overworking yourself when at the end of it everybody is being this sweet.

It seems a bit of a formality to post progress right after you're able to play the latest, but I'll do it anyway because it's pretty comfy looking through my backup folder, deciphering my cryptic notes I made at 5:17am on a tuesday and reconstituting the thought behind it from concentrate like a supermarket orange juice.

This week, I mainly playtested and implemented fixes, tested saving everywhere and reloading to make sure rooms all initialized properly, that all relevant values were restored, rewordings of tutorials and some dialogue flow changes. I also:

- Added a new character, who can be recruited to help fight with the right motivation
- Added death handling- until now the player would just hobble around at 0 health, and while it looked hilarious, battles have more weight to them if death is a possibility, or rather no weight if there's no chance.
- Upped player health to default of 10 and added an event halfway to heal, in case the player doesn't experiment with food items looted from enemies


There were a couple of bugs or things pointed out, some of which I've fixed already (spelling, double-spaces), some will be fixed this week, including;
>Weapons have no visible stats, player has to make blind choices between weapons.
I didn't initially think this was super important at this particular stage since any weapon will be an advantage over your fists, but it's a totally valid point and something I'll need to add regardless, if for no other reason than the stats being broadcast in my face all the time so I can tweak them better, so I'll work on that this week.
>Handing over items as part of a transaction or mini quest doesn't actually remove the item from your inventory!
Boy do I feel dumb. There are a couple of key items in the demo and some checks to make sure the player has them, but I didn't think to remove them from the inventory when it'd make sense to in the story. This'll be fixed.
>No way to reference the information from tutorials on command.
I'll make some kinda cheat sheet, I think. While I do go over what each button does, it's kinda in a dump at the start of the game, and that's no fun, so I'll come up with something the player can easily access any time.

I've paraphrased the above from reports I've had so far, thanks so much to those PMing them to me, it really helps cover those blind spots you develop when you work with something every day.

That's it from me, again, I'm so glad people are enjoying the new work, I'm looking forward to putting the free version out this week to let others try it, and to get onto the first proper mission/scenario, which I've had waiting for a month to be realised.

Thanks again,
Oko

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Star Knave v1.0.0





Download latest Build

Public release date: October 20th
$5 Patreon release: Tonight!

Sunday, 7 October 2018

"I swear it's actually coming out soon" edition


I super wanted to get this out Saturday. I spent 20 hours a day all this week working on it and again I've failed to learn that it's not that I'm not throwing enough man-hours at it, it's that I'm only one man.






This week I:
- Added some more to an existing scene, adding some buildup and wind-down
- Extended the same scene to add better climaxes and updated art a little
- Implemented Auto Hentai mode, toggleable, bound to spacebar
- De-cluttered the flow, removing one sequence that was just for fun and not lewd
- Added some weapons the player can find and equip
- Added small NPC quest

- Music fixes, much better battle music than that shown last week
- Created logo and start menu
- Reduced UI padding to show more screen when using optional text window boxes
- Added optional in-flow tutorials for the 3 main areas of the game
- Blocked saving in H-Scenes and Battle
- Added scripts for refreshing individual npcs to update their loadout
- Small AI tweaks
- Attempted to add all global variables to be saved as properties of $gameSystem
- broke many things in a 6 hour period, then re-evaluated and realised I only need to add a few global variables to be saved as properties so long as I remove the ability to load from the pause menu
- more on this below
- Redid some character art to be more distinctive
- Added big titty orc hair metal band to the main area

So. The demo is basically ready, meaning I could put it out today and most people could probably play through it without issue, but I want to hold back and spend a couple of days just testing it.
The holdup on Saturday night that prevented me from releasing was the above-mentioned problem with global variables;

The problem is that I'm declaring variables with global scope but that these are only used by my scripts and unless told don't interact with the rest of the game. They aren't saved in save files, which means if you were to save your game mid-battle one of two things would happen during load:

> If you loaded within the same session, as in from the pause menu without shutting down the client, the values would not change, remaining floating from the time you loaded, which would break things
>If you loaded from another session (closed the game and booted again) the variables would be their default values, breaking things.


My solution to this yesterday was to go through thousands of lines of script and add each global variable instead to be properties of $gameSystem, an engine object that is included in the save system, so I could piggyback on it and theoretically we could save and load from anywhere and it'd all just work.
But doing this broke some systems, and after a period of 6 hours and feeling like I'd absolutely fucked everything, I rolled back and started again only adding the variables I'd need to save, rather than adding absolutely everything. I think the main problem was plugin commands messing up due to the period in, eg. "$gameSysten.testVar", maybe the value would be separated into two strings, borking the command on entry, I can't say that for sure, but what I do know is the main problem I was having was with plugin commands, and for a couple of key parts I just can't do it any other way.

The plus side is that I now understand the whole thing far better, and as well as having added some key values to be saved, I now know how to do this for the future.
So while it wasn't a rousing success in the immediate and I beat myself up all last night for the 'wasted time', it was a net positive.

The plan:
I'm going to continue working this week, bugfixing where I find any and allowing myself until Tuesday to add small details, but nothing that takes more than an hour each. Then I hammer the build and send it out late this week.
I just want this first demo to be great, because it might be the only non-patreon build out for a little while, so I want it to be a great ambassador for what you can expect from supporting the title.

Anyway, that's enough rambling from me, gonna eat something and get away from screens for a while, my eyes hurt like a bastard.

Take good care of yourself,
Oko