So happy I am to announce that the Blue Star v.0.1 Demo is finally online and ready for download! You can find it at the “demo” section of this website… don’t forget to also download the rpg maker xp RTP (you won’t be able to play without it)… there’s a link to that download above the demo. I hope you enjoy it! I wanted to write more about it, but I’m so tired, so I think I’ll save that for tomorrow. I’ll probably also work on a project thread for the forums tomorrow. I’ve never done one of those before… but I’m somewhat excited to finally have something to post 😛
“Mirror” is the idea behind the title screen…
Aero (I like drawing Leebles if you can’t tell).
I’m writing up GDC stuff here this week. Most of the sessions I’ll be going to will be about story writing, game design, and audio stuffs… I wanted to find some good business ones for independent developers, but unfortunately none of them seemed that relevant.
Yay, so now the first 3 main characters have their own personal sprites. For some reason Achaius took forever to make. I think because his outfit has so much tan and brown that it was tough making it so that he didn’t appear washed out. Tomorrow is the first day we’re going to GDC. It looks like there will be a lot of interesting sessions. I hope I have the energy to make it through the whole day; it’s been a while since I’ve gone to an all-day (several days in a row) event like that. Maybe one full day of adults will be the equivalent in energy exertion as spending 3 hours with kindergarteners? I hope so, because I can handle the kindergarteners.
I also tried to revive my shigi.wordpress.com site in case I need to give it out for business-reasons. It has samples of all my VGM work, so it’s the closest thing to an online resume that I have right now. I wanted to have a page with comments and reviews that have been written on the sound/music for games I’ve worked on, but I didn’t have time. Right now there’s a blog too, but I really have nothing to write in it… between this space, livejournal, and the fact that I just don’t write as much as I used to, I have nothing left to write about, haha. Perhaps I’ll let it be the “news” section. Websites are so complicated these days.
Oh, and today my car alarm battery died on me at the grocery store. My car was announcing to the entire parking lot that I was trying to break into it, but thankfully we were near a Longs so I was able to change the batteries and get back in without causing another ruckus. Oh and incidentally, even if you set off the alarm, you can still get back in so long as you have the key. I wasn’t aware of this until today. Perhaps everyone else already knows about this… oh well, better late than never.
GDC starts next week, and while I’m going to be looking for an artist while I’m there, George suggested I enter the G.A.N.G. Derby Demo. It’s this guild of video game musicians, and members have the option of submitting a 60 second demo for review. I’m not entirely sure if it’s a competition or not, but I think it’s good practice to do things like this. So in the process of making this demo for submission, I’ve learned that you can’t do a whole lot in 60 seconds. In fact, as hard as I tried, I still came out 1:02:13 which I’m not sure is allowed. I was just planning on time compressing it in Soundforge, but the quality went down, so I might have to find 2 seconds to shave somewhere… it’s tough though, because it’s already so cut down that I feel like everything has a place. Oh well, more of a challenge!
Here is the original 1:02:13 version… it is a sampling of 3 pieces from my game: Premonition, Sweet Unlucky (the battle theme), and Dominic’s theme (Carya de mio).
Perhaps posting this will help remind me to shave off those 2 seconds before GDC.
Okay, so a couple weeks ago I finished somewhat of a preliminary demo of my game. I had George play through it, and I took about a page full of really tiny notes on bugs and various changes I wanted to make. I spent a few days after that going through the list. Then I had my mom try the game. My mom has played Animal Crossing for the DS, and she’s really taken to World of Warcraft, but she’s never really played nes/snes games. Her playtest revealed a few things to me: 1.) If I want people who aren’t familiar with snes-style rpgs to enjoy my game, I need more instruction early on (things like “you can move around using arrow keys,” and “this is how you use a tonic,” etc.), and 2.) the beginning just wasn’t exciting enough. She wasn’t picking up on key elements of the story that I wanted her to pick up. I felt kind of discouraged, but then I got back on it and redid certain parts of the beginning. I decided to reveal certain scenes in order to get the player more excited about what could happen later. Especially concerning the Gleemers…
Anyways, so today Jeremy came over after work and tested it out. He played the full demo, from start all the way to meeting Dolby in the Melolune Caves. Not only was it the first time someone made it that far without encountering a game-stopping bug, but he actually enjoyed it! I told him several times that he could quit if he wanted, but he kept playing. In fact, he picked fights with monsters in order to level, and took extra care in equipping all the characters. He ended up playing for about 3.5 hours (which would definitely be the upper register). I asked him if he felt drawn in after the first hour, and he said he was curious about Dominic’s past, and wanted to know more about Gleem. I think the best thing was that the changes made to the original demo allowed him to more fully absorb the parts of the plot that I want the player to come away with. Yay!
I was feeling so discouraged before, because it’s tough to know if one’s own game is interesting… especially since I know the story, I know all the secrets and plot twists and story arcs… and I’ve played through it so many times. Amazingly, I still managed to amass another page of bug and change notes (in really tiny writing no less). But I’m really motivated about hammering out the next section of the game, and redoing some of the artwork that I’ve put off (like the title screen, some of the facesets, and main character sprites).
I also have to figure out how to properly port the game to a playable demo so I can put it online. Last time I tried this, the encrypt-option didn’t encrypt anything I had added to the original RTP. I’m sure there’s a way around this, so I’ll probably post that question on the forums tomorrow along with some of the other random things I haven’t been able to fix on my own. Ahhh… I have so much new music too that I have to upload! Yay for being back on track.
Pansola… anytime you want to play, it’s ready!
I finally finished integrating the music into the introduction! Sadly, as I was cutting out two measures from “The Great World” I managed upon a familiar problem… synchronization issues. I remember only a few days ago I was recording the Triton as it played back my MIDI sequence using its own sounds. Everything synched up perfectly. But today, I tried this very same thing only to find that when I played back the MIDI at the same time as its audio counterpart, the audio would gradually become out of sync with the rest of the project. After about a minute, it was a whole second off and screwing up the entire song. Just like before. Anyone who knew the 2004-me knew that this was like the bane of my existence. I don’t know how much of my life was spent on forums and help sites attempting to fix this. Let’s just say I spent years getting around this. YEARS. No one could get it to work. In the end I just chalked it up to my precarious setup (laptop->external soundcard->mixer->hard synths, etc.), which seems logical because when I got a desktop (internal soundcard) and Sonar 6 (thank-you George) my problems finally (after like 3 years) disappeared.
Suffice to say I had a complete and total breakdown. I was sitting at my computer bawling thinking about how just the other day I was like “wow, it’s SO wonderful not to have sync issues… it makes my job like 100x easier.” So frustrating. But thankfully we had a great time tonight and it totally took my mind off of things. George’s comapny had its belated Christmas party at Dave & Busters, so we all got drinks and played lots of games and talked about fish genes and Megaman. I won a fabulous flashing amulet that looked like a raver’s version of the sparkly from Secret of Nimh. After getting home, I found an alternate soft synth to use for “The Great World” so I wouldn’t have to bother with audio… (when cutting two measures out and re-exporting the .wav, I needed to find a sound to go with a track which was previously utilizing a soft synth I no longer had). Then I was able to import that shorter version, and messed around with the ME until it finally fit.
Yay! And nay… I’m going to be dealing with the sync crap again *sigh*. But on the bright side, I’m really happy to be getting things done. I’m almost almost finished with the demo… I just have to put in some more music.
Yay! Now you can check the Screenshots section for a bunch of new screenshots like this one.
*note: These screens are still using the old spritesets. I’m planning on replacing several of them after the demo work is finished.
Happy New Year! I realize I haven’t updated in a while, but I’ve been hard at work. Originally my goal was to have a playable demo out by the new year, but I ran out of time… but I’m actually very close to finishing it.
-I redid most of the first areas of the game (it no longer looks like the horizon abruptly runs into the sky)
-I redid the intro (now instead of a campfire scene, I’m shedding a little light on Achaius’ past through a series of flashbacks that culminate with the Leeble Defenders doing rounds)
-New music “Starlight” created for the introduction
-Izaya is completely finished (interior and exterior mapping, events, etc.)
-Basho and Melolune are completely mapped
What I still need to do for the demo:
-events for Basho (check point station)
-mapping for Debonet (so there will be guards to say “you can’t enter without a pass”)
-battles for the Melolune cave
-cutscene with Dolby
-Blue Star logo
-event/battle leading up to Melolune (right outside of Debonet)
-insert the intro music “Starlight” and “The Great World” into the intro/call wind noise/fade in and outs
-a few more pieces of music
I wanted to have new spritesets for the main characters, but I’m not sure if it’ll happen before I release the demo. That being said, the screenshots I’m going to post will be using the old sprites.
I also need to break this terrible nocturnal habit. For some reason, I’m not creative until the sun has set… last night I was up til past 7am working on the game, and I didn’t wake up until 2pm. You’d think that getting 6-7 hours of sleep would leave me feeling rested, but no. I’m sure humans were meant to be diurnal; the proof is in the way I feel when I stay up all night and wake up past noon. How does it feel? Crappy. I felt like a zombie for at least 30 minutes after rolling out of bed. Thus is the life of a contractor. But one of my new year’s resolutions is to not live nocturnally. After all, there are never enough hours in a day that begins at 2pm.
I felt a lot better after things got rolling however. I taught a couple private piano lessons and had some dinner with George. Now I’m charged and ready to work again. Perhaps I can upload some stuff tonight…