Minor Update: Intro Progress Report 9

It’s the week end, so lets discuss what I’ve done so far. Last week I set out the goals of making input keys rebindable by users, recreating some icons and completing the intro portion of the game. Unfortunately, I only got 1 out of the 3 goals completed. Let me explain my pain.

So as it turns out, unity’s original input system doesn’t have the ability to (easily) allow for key rebinding. Ok, so I switched to unity’s new input system which does allow for key rebinding. Except I couldn’t get the damn thing to work properly with the framework. How frustrating to waste an entire day researching methods just to get a basic feature every modern game has. I was left with two options, continue to use unity’s new input system and struggle to put together a basic rebind system or use a separate, but well established input asset that just works out of the box.

Both keyboard and controller rebinding works flawlessly.

I chose to save time and got the asset. Finally, things just worked again and in little time I was able to get a functional input and rebind solution up and running. At this point it was already half week and I was running into other small problems as I was wrestling the input system. I realized I hadn’t put together a solution for resolution and window size. Since the entire game is in 2d at a fixed ratio of 16 by 9, any screen resolution that is not 16 by 9 will see more information I didn’t intend thanks to the 3d nature of unity’s camera.

Check out the immediate top and bottom of the game screen to see objects (the daughter’s legs on the bottom and particle effects at the top) sticking out of the intended viewable screen.

Oh boy, another problem I get to beat myself over the head about. I thought of quite a few solutions, originally I was going to force all screens without 16 by 9 resolution to be in windowed mode instead of full screen. This would have worked but I realized a player could just press Alt+Enter to go into full screen, and I was still bothered by the fact that objects were visible outside the 16 by 9 ratio. So I decided on a much more simpler approach. I just covered the gaps with all black images. With this primitive method, any resolution can be windowed or full screen and only what I intended will be visible to the player. It’s not elegant, but it works.

With that decided, I had to create the setting menu from scratch since the framework (or unity for that matter) doesn’t offer a pre-made solution out of the box. Yeah, that was fun and not time consuming at all.

Despite how simple it looks there are a lot of things going on in the background. Good news is the resolution change works quickly and smoothly.

Finally, after going back and forward testing the resolution changes I now have a working resolution control that will work on any screen offering you the best image for your screen size. As far as the other options go, I’ve tested decreasing the image quality and it didn’t do anything of worth, so I didn’t include it. There are no real 3d elements in this game so I didn’t include a lot of other options like depth of field, bloom, and POV. But I did include options to disable effects such as character animation and particle effects during exploration and battles. This should help people with weaker systems run the game better. I’ll probably add more options at some point down the line but this list should cover the most important ones at the moment.

Now that all of that is done, I can finally get back to the two goals from last week. Recreating the icons and completing the intro. What an annoying week this was. I did not like it. 1/10 week, I fart in it’s general direction.

I will have this damn intro complete next week. Believe it!

Minor Update: Intro Progress Report 8

New update! Just like last week, this one will also be short but that doesn’t mean work hasn’t been done. I’ve spent most of last week working on the exploration, making a bunch of changes under the hood and doing a bit of work on the intro dialogue.

The event icons now lie under the player. This makes it easier to add other effects over the tiles if I desire. I’ve also removed the backgrounds of most of the icons to make them blend better with the environment.

Most of the time last week was spent on finalizing the controls. Right now there are 3 ways to operate this game. With the mouse, which was the original method and the way the game was designed around. With the keyboard, which was partially supported in the old build, it is now fully supported. And finally, with a controller. I’ve tested it with the mouse and keyboard but I hadn’t got around to making it controller compatible.

After some time tinkering in unity, I managed to get the controller functional. I have to say, I rather like navigating the game with a controller. While all 3 modes of control are functional, I don’t have the ability to let user rebind the keys. This is a no-no for modern games as far as I’m concerned. I will take the time to fix this problem.

Lastly, I did a bit of work toward completing the intro portion of the game. By this time next week I will have the first full in-game week completed. This is certainly a small milestone but the week won’t be fully complete since I’m still missing many things like animation and other features I plan to go back and adjust.

For next week I’m going to work on keybinding, recreate some item icons since I don’t like what I have now, and complete the intro week along with other miscellaneous tasks in between.

That’s all for now, later days.

Minor Update: Intro Progress Report 7

Hello again folks. Today will be a very small update. To be blunt I don’t have much to talk about this week and I don’t have any images to show you, but I am here and I don’t want to keep you guys in the dark for too long so lets talk.

For the past week I’ve been taking it easy and spending just a minimal amount of time testing the changes I’ve made to the battle system. As usual when learning a new system I ran into problems. As of now I have figured out all the hard stuff and what I have left is a much better system than my original custom one. Thanks to switching to this newer system the game battles will be much more dynamic and I’ll be able to control actions much more easier. I’ll explain more once I show off the battle system.

Further more, I’ve been debating over how I should approach battle FXs. The artist in me wants to custom draw every effect but I can’t realistically spend so much time focused on one aspect of the project. I have finally opted to use premade effects and occasionally edit/create  custom effects when I need them in order to reduced project time.

For the next week I’m going to continue to work on the battle and exploration until I find the perfect design for both. Once that is achieved, I will move on to completing the intro and then going back and making any changes I find necessary. I also need to animate many, many, characters. So much to do.

But that’s just how it is with game development, I love it! Speak to you guys next week!

Minor Update: Redo Complete

It’s official, I am completely done porting Guardian’s Guide to the new framework. I have met all my goals and I’ve even exceeded them. If you want to review the porting process click here for the entire timeline.

I have ported all the dialogue and created all the miscellaneous scripts that was left for the porting to be complete. To top it all off, I will not be required to redo any menu scripts since the framework creator decided not to redesign the menu system. YES! SO HAPPY!

Now that the entire port job is complete I can compare them and truly question was it all worth it. Yes, the answer is unquestionably, YES. Thanks to this port, both the front end and back end has been improved immensely. Here is a small list of all the things I’ve gain with this port.

  • Improved gui performance
  • Better script management
  • A wealth of more flexibility
  • Faster prototyping
  • Quality of Life improvements across the board

Looking back at the old build I can see all the hacky scripts I had to create just to do what I can do in the new framework effortlessly. It brings a small tear to my eye.

Ok, back to business! What’s next? Well, as long as there aren’t any new project breaking beta updates, I can continue development as normal. Once the beta is officially over I can really start to hit the ground running.

In the meantime I am making some changes to the battle system. I had a custom grid system set up and decided to switch to the frameworks built in grid system to see if it would be better/easier. Well, it is. So I’m currently testing that to fully replace it with my old set up.

My current goal is to get the exploration/battle system set in stone. It’s all still pretty bare bone since it’s where I left off before the GREAT PORT OF 2021. The major updates/videos will return once the framework is out of beta and I’ve gotten all the game systems finalized.

There is still so much to do but I’m glad I have a much better tool to work with, LETS FUCKING GOOOOO.

Minor Update: Redo Progress 7

We are getting closer to the completion of the porting job. If you’re unaware, I am currently in the process of porting Guardian’s Guide to a new framework. If you want to get caught up with the porting process click here for the entire timeline.

As I mentioned in the last update, I spent this week porting the title screen and the guild hall menu. Neither of these have had significant changes and the port was pretty seamless. I did simplify some menu aesthetics for the guild hall but that’s about it.

All that’s left is the porting of the game intro dialogue. There is quite a bit of dialogue and I’m slowly getting into.

As I mentioned last week, there is an update I expect in a few weeks that will result in me having to go back and re-reference every menu I’ve used, that includes the dialogue. This is why I am hesitant to start porting all the dialogue, all the monotonous clicking will be suffering.

Nonetheless, once I get the dialogue ported the redo job will be complete and I can get back to creating the intro events.

That’s it for this update, next week will probably be the last redo update unless something happens. Until then, be well guys.

Minor Update: Redo Progress 6

It’s that time again, and boy am I excited. You know the deal, I am currently in the process of porting Guardian’s Guide to a new framework. And this past week has been a real joy. If you want to get caught up with the porting process click here for the entire timeline.

I set two goals for myself this past week. Port the exploration mechanics and port the battle system. I was confident I would get the exploration ported considering I didn’t have to change much but switching the controls over to the new framework. But I was convinced I would only get through part of the battle system since I not only needed to recreate a bunch of menus but I also needed to recreate some thick custom scripts.

This week has been unbelievably productive. I not only ported the exploration mechanics, I redesigned the menu to display more information and work better with keyboard/controller. You can see the old design here.

This was exciting enough considering everything worked great once I started testing the controls. By mid week I started working on porting the battle system. Since this was more or less where I left off before the port it’s still in a skeleton state so I don’t have any flashy screen shots to show you but the bare mechanics are there and they needed porting.

Not only did I port all those mechanics, not only did I redesign some menus to better support keyboard/controllers, not only did I port the beefy scripts AND make the code function better, but I also fixed a few problems that were plaguing me for weeks. WOW!!

Unfortunately, I ran into a few bugs, nothing game stopping, but bugs nonetheless that need fixin’. Despite that, the exploration and battle work 100% from start to finish. This is fantastic news for a beta framework.

I can officially say I am about 80% done with the port and all the questionable features are done and accounted for. All I really have left to do is porting a few more menus (like the guild hall) along with the dialogue and gameflow. I’m a little hesitant about porting the dialogue since there is already a lot of it and I know for a fact I will need to re-port menu listings in the framework. (there is a plan to redesign how menus are handled behind the scenes to provide more flexibility) This won’t require me to recreate the menus but I will have to go back and reference every menu again in all the scripts I created. This will already be a grueling task but having 50-100 additional dialogues to click through will make it that much more dreadful. I don’t know, I’ll probably do it anyways just to make sure everything works 100%.

Hey check this out, this is how the exploration will control! You can also use the keyboard WASD to navigate!

For next week I’ll just keep moving forward. I’ll port the guild hall and then port the main menu. From there I’ll start porting the introduction then we’ll be back were we started. All I can do is deal with the circumstance as they unfold but I’m confident I’m through the worst of it at this point. (famous last words lol)

Until next week, stay well friends!

Minor Update: Redo Progress 5

Greetings again. I’m currently in the process of porting Guardian’s Guide to a new framework. It’s been roughly 2 weeks since the last update. This was not intentional. A few things have happened that caused this gap. For the first week I did not get any real work done. To put it bluntly, I ran into a bug I needed corrected in order for me to continue work. Luckily, that has been addressed during the second week. But that was not the only reason for my absence. Last sunday I became sick. It was nothing serious, but I was in bed for at least 2 days. I just decided to wait for this sunday to give a proper update.

So, with that explanation out of the way, what has happened in the small time I did work? As I mentioned 2 weeks ago, I begin work on porting the job system and managed to complete that.

I went out of my way to improve the scripting and the work flow to make things easier on myself when I add to it in the future. This has been the case for the entire porting process. The code is shorter, and the logic is easier to follow. Part of this is due to the new framework, the readability is fantastic.

I also managed to port the exploration menu. This and the job menu were not managed under the old framework. I was able to port the job window pretty easy since it is mostly just passive scripts and animation, but I had to redesign the exploration menu to account for mouse, keyboard and controller use.

Now there is just a single menu where the names are highlighted on the map of the places you want to visit. Originally, you would just click on the name but with the keyboard/controller support, the focus has been switched to the menu.

I have also redesigned (again) the job selection menu. I haven’t shown this because it reveals a bunch of characters not ready to be shown but just know I redesigned it to make it easier to navigate.

With all that out of the way, I have fully ported all(most) the main menus of the game.(I’ve done so far) My plans for next week is to port and test the map exploration and battle system. There is a lot of work to be done here but I’m excited for the potential improvements I can make. For everything to go well I must not run into any serious bugs.

If I had to estimate I would say I am about 63% done with the port. I’ll end the update here, stay well friends!

Minor Update: Redo Progress 4

Hello again folks! I’m currently in the process of porting Guardian’s Guide to a new framework. Picking up from last week, I’ve managed to port most of the main GUI from the old build. During this porting process, I’ve been making changes to better accommodate keyboard/controller support and added features I couldn’t due to limitations in the old framework. One such change is with the Status Menu.

This is the old Status Menu.

The old Status Menu was designed with only mouse control in mind. My original plan was to use it for both the player and enemy during battle but the old framework didn’t allow it at the time.

The new Status Menu.

With the decision I made to enable keyboard and controller support I had to redesign the status menu. Also, the new framework allows me to use the Status Menu on any fighter in the game so I added Items to the list.

Many other small changes were made with the other menus that I couldn’t do before due to the limitations of the old framework. The rest have just been cosmetic changes like picture below.

Old in above and new is below.

Now that I’ve gone through most of the GUI porting, I plan to focus on porting the systems. Mainly the job system and battle system. I’m a bit worried that I might run into some serious bugs with the battle system. Well, I won’t know until I get there. As of right now I would say I’m 50% done with the porting. Could be more, could be less.

I’ll update you guys next week, until then, be well.

Minor Update 1 Aug 2021: Redo Progress 3

Hello again folks! This has been quite the productive week. I managed to not only get many menus ported but I manage to report and test many bugs in the new framework.

As I mentioned in Moving Forward 2 – Future Plans, I plan to not only make all GUI controllable under the framework but also allow the game to be played with keyboard or controller. Thanks to the progress of this week that is now fully possible. Many of the changes I’ve been making to the GUI is either to make keyboard/controller support easier or to accommodate features I wanted to add but wasn’t able to due to the old framework limitations.

I’m currently working on the party menu. I plan to recreate/redesign the Status menu as well as the Set Battle Spot menu.(although you guys haven’t seen this one there won’t be much changed)

Ah yes, there has been way more changes than I originally planned. I have been discovering there’s more and more features I could add than I thought. On one hand, this has been slowing me down a bit, on the other, I wanted to add these features anyways, I just couldn’t due to limitations.

Nonetheless, I’ll keep this momentum going into the next week. I’m almost done porting all the gui for the main menu. After that’s done I’ll be porting systems I’ve set up such as the job management, exploration and battle movement. My goal is to not only port these systems but make them better and easier to manage.

I would show more screenshots but a lot of the stuff I ported isn’t quite complete to show off yet. All in due time!

Until the next update, be well you guys!

Minor Update 25 July 2021: Redo Progress 2

Good day folks! This is just another minor update on the progress of porting Guardian’s Guide. If you’re unfamiliar with what’s going on please check this post and then the last minor update. Speaking of the last minor update, I mentioned I plan to make a few changes to the GUI as I port the game. In the screen shots below I will show you what I meant.

The old GUI is on the left and the new GUI is on the right.

For the budget and personality menu I made quite a few visual changes. Originally, the personality menu wasn’t managed by the framework. It was a custom menu I had to manually call, control and update along side the framework. With this port it is fully maintained by the framework as all the other menus. As I mentioned in previous post, 100% of all the menus will be controlled by the framework. I am on course to making that a reality.

If you are wondering why the personality menu wasn’t originally controlled by the old framework, before I started using the framework I was creating the entire game from scratch. Once I switched over I was going through a learning process and I decided not to recreate the menu as I was having serious problems creating effective menus at the time.

With the new framework came a much easier approach to making menus. So not only have I ported the personality menu, I made some changes. The new menu can now be used with keyboard and controller and hopefully it is easier to read and understand. Fyi, I decided to move Job proficiency under the Jobs menu.

As for the budget menu, not much has changed. But there is one key thing I wanted to do in the old framework that just wasn’t possible (more or less) until now. I am able to add additional information to any item, equipment, person or thing. With this, I can separate text descriptions from usage effects. More than anything this provides organization and opens up many more possibilities for design and customization.

This is the supply menu. I haven’t shown this off before as there isn’t much to show yet but, here it is. The old GUI is on the left and the new GUI is on the right.

You will see more of this “separation” in the GUI redesign in future updates. With each new GUI I redo I am thinking of ways to improve or organize in hopes of making things better for the viewer.

The overall progress is going well. I am still running into bugs but I haven’t had to redo any data with the new beta updates. I would say I’m about 15% done with the port. (those may be conservative numbers but I’m hoping all the custom scripts and dialogue will be easy copy/paste ports)

I will try to get back on the weekly train with these updates so expect a new update next sunday at the latest. Until then, stay well friends.