Progress Report 0200101.044: A long list of animations

Morning, Internet.

Yesterday, being the Lord’s day, and therefore a day on which I do as I like, I made progress on my virtual pet. Said progress report can be found at the bottom of this post, but I’m quite enthused with it so far. Can’t wait ’til Wednesday to work on it again.

For my new readers, “Captain’s Log” posts are regular project update posts. They occur at four times: the first day I work on a new project, the day I finish the current leg of a project, and every Monday and Friday for the duration. On Monday, I call my shot for the week, and on Friday I analyze whether I made my shot and try to adjust my plans and expectations accordingly.

Krag Vargenstone marks the first time since I formed this blog that I couldn’t reasonably be described as the ‘captain’. Which is fine — I have neither need nor want to be “in charge” of this project — but I titled the category without considering I might work on a team at some point. I may, therefore goof around with the titles.

The first ‘week’ of January had only two days. In order, I re-acquainted myself with the Vargenstone project on day one, and got four-directional walking with placeholder sprites on day two.

I’m unsatisfied with the “HD” graphics used for the upper body in the south-facing walk. For one, his nose grows two sizes when he starts walking. For another, the linework is kind of terrible. But the time for me to perfect my process for the final artwork is after I deliver useable art for my programmer.

My days off are Sunday and Wednesday. Here are my plans for the remaining five days in order:

  • Northeast and Southeast idle and walking animations.
  • Aiming and shooting animations
  • Orc 8-direction move and idle
  • Orc attack
  • Dwarf alternate costumes (cloaked and armored)

If I get ahead of the curve, I can go in and figure out the art quality.

I also got a recurring weekly art commission from my church, and I intend to do that Monday of each week. But I providentially have the option to set aside a separate block of time for that.

Onward!

Continue reading “Progress Report 0200101.044: A long list of animations”
  • Northeast and Southeast idle and walking animations.
  • Aiming and shooting animations
  • Orc 8-direction move and idle
  • Orc attack
  • Dwarf alternate costumes (cloaked and armored)

If I get ahead of the curve, I can go in and figure out the art quality.

I also got a recurring weekly art commission from my church, and I intend to do that Monday of each week. But I providentially have the option to set aside a separate block of time for that.

Onward!

Continue reading “Progress Report 0200101.044: A long list of animations”

Vargenstone Devlog 2: Oh Give Me A Code, where the Buffalos Roam…

When we left off, we had made ourselves some leg animations.

Don’t worry about the fact that they’re low quality. They’re supposed to be draft one. I hope by the end of the day I have enough time to polish one direction, so I can justify the process with the end result, but my magic 8-ball has expressed… reservations.

We need to make some torso animations and then, go into Unity and combine them. I’m leery of this since I’ll be jumping the existing project forward by a solid four years worth of Unity updates and something is liable to break. I have some small skill, but I don’t know whether it will suffice to fix anything that breaks.

But I’m borrowing trouble. If my skill is not up to the task, we can always roll back the repo in git. ONWARD!

Continue reading “Vargenstone Devlog 2: Oh Give Me A Code, where the Buffalos Roam…”

Vargenstone Devlog: Diving In

I’m up a couple of hours earlier than normal. I credit the traditional New Years food of my people: chimichangas. That’s not a comic book reference. I’m Arizonan.

Alright. Day 2 of picking up Vargenstone where I left off. I had successfully-ish created a tileset.

I can see some issues with it, but it’s usable. First thing you do is make sure you’ve got usable versions of everything in the game, and then you go in and fix stuff. So we’ll leave this alone. And that means our #1 priority right now is a player character.

So, I’ve got a 3D model I made for reference. A hand drawn guy with shading which I decided was too much work, and a vector guy with no shading, which doesn’t match any of the other art. Oh, and attempts to build pieces for animating in Spriter.

Quick discussion of issues:

Continue reading “Vargenstone Devlog: Diving In”

Captain’s Log 0210101.073: Old Dogs and New Tricks

Lad’s and lasses, it is time to begin again!

Downloaded the repo for the first time in four years, and I’m looking it over. At the moment I haven’t touched Unity, as the Unity version in use is really old, and if we upgrade (and I hope we upgrade!) I want that to be the decision (and problem) of the team’s code monkey.

He did not give me a time frame other than January, which has a whole month’s worth of days, so I don’t know if work on the project is going to start on the other end today, or in one month. But there’s a bunch of stuff I can do in the mean time. I’ve improved significantly as both an artist and an animator in the last 4 years. I have better, more potent tools now than I did then.

At the moment I’m just going through the art, figuring out what the heck I was doing, reorganizing it, and tidying it up. I also need to re-learn Spriter.

Krag Vargenstone is an interesting sort of a thing for me. It’s a fantastic opportunity to make friends with people who want to make un-woke games. The last time I made it, it fell at a particularly unfortuitous time of my life: I was dealing with some nasty medication side effects, and I was preparing to leave my home state to help with some drama with my in-laws. Now, I no-longer need the medication that was causing the side-effects, and I am back among my own family.

Meanwhile, in my own projects…

Continue reading “Captain’s Log 0210101.073: Old Dogs and New Tricks”

Captain’s Log 0201228.72; Fails my heart, I know not how..

I wanted to get six pages done today. I got four done, and two more written, and I’m not sure if I’ll manage to do the storyboard for those other two today.

At this rate, we shall cover the crucifixion tomorrow, and the resurrection Thursday. Unless I can boost my production to 8 or 10 pages a day, though, I don’t foresee us finishing the story this month. Still, it should be very easy to pick up or wrap up in any spare moments I get over the next couple of months. And If I do boost my production speed (which, for drafts or storyboards, is inexcusably slow), we might yet pull it off.

Still, this bit of production, while less than I need, is more than I’ve been doing, and the right kind of momentum to start the week.

Captain’s Log 0201225.195 Stick a pin in it…

All goes largely as I predicted last time. I’m not actually registering a log because I’m working on Christmas.

I’m registering a log because a thought occurred to me and I wanted to pin it down before it escapes.

I have one more picture to draw for the white elephant gift exchange tomorrow. But listening to the GDC postmortii of Into the Breach and FTL has me thinking “why not try and make my RPG battle system as a game all by itself?” An RPG, even a small one, is a huge undertaking.

I have a passion/skill gap in game-making that serves as a constant annoyance. I have made games by myself, but small things like Space Invaders. I never want to make another shooter as long as I live.

The trick is finding a project that’s bigger than a space shooter, but small enough I can finish it, but interesting enough that I can get excited about it.

I have previously dismissed the idea of making the combat system of my RPG design as a game unto itself. But for some reason, right now it seems like a really, really good idea. It may be the general exhaustion speaking, however. So I want to note it down now and come back to it with a fresh mind.

Update:

Added Kaylich.

Merry Christmas to you all

I’m up and the progeny is up. But the rest of the house would like to sleep, thank you very much. So I’m going to ramble a bit about what I’m up to while the offspring plays quietly with some stocking stuffers.

Hah! Just kidding. The kid ditched the stocking stuffer almost immediately for crayons and paper, because the kid is my kid.

Previously, in this space, I mentioned “rebuilding Final Fantasy using Piqha.” I did a ton of Piqha sketches to try and provide myself with six decent designs to use for the classic FF classes, and decided on these ones:

Fighter, Monk, Theif, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage. Since the white mage is supposed to be D&D cleric with the trademark information scrubbed off and any references to religion artfully removed, I cranked it all the way back: my healing class is not only a cleric, but a Christian. Similarly, while the Final Fantasy red mage went on to become its own thing, it’s fairly clear that in the first game it was a reference to the D&D ranger, so I went with one of two wilderness scout looking guys.

And hey, let’s make the wizard actually look like someone messing with dark forces, then.

Anyhow, my thought process is: if I take Final Fantasy, fix the plot holes, replace the characters with similar characters from my tool bag, and alter the plot to fit the characters, at the end of the day I’ll have something similar enough to Final Fantasy to fall into the healthy reference zone, and different enough to be its own creature.

For instance, Final Fantasy I centers on a time loop. The first guy you beat is also the final boss. Except he went back in time, and you have to go back in time to fight him. Except that has pretty much no effect on the rest of the game. It’s just sort of there.

Okay. Why not make the time travel thing present throughout? Piqha are a race of genetically engineered starship components. When they live in a fantasy setting, it’s because a ship crashed, and the little gremlins in the walls of the ship built civilization on the shipwreck. What if four piqha, Our Heroes, are on a ship that is crashing because of some kind of time vortex, they get launched into the distant future, and getting back to their own time is their whole objective?

Anyway, this year I drew pictures for Christmas for my family members, as is my custom, and because I have piqha on the brain, they’re all piqha.

They aren’t exactly concept art, but they aren’t exactly not concept art either (each piqha picture was designed with the recipient rather than the needs of my stories in mind). For example, I haven’t even decided whether mer-piqha are a thing. There’s no reason why they can’t be, but there’s no reason why they must be either. But one of my family members likes mermaids, and I have piqha on the brain, so mer-piqha it is.

But I have a celebration tomorrow with a white elephant gift exchange, so I thought, why not straight up make concept art, frame it, and hand it out? So here’s our four Heroes of Light in their spaceship:

Since I have four, I decided to name them Tsi, Em, Wye, and Kay, respectively, after the colors of printer ink.

“But what about the character classes?”

Ideally, I’d make a custom version of each class for each character. In practice, I’m going to start with reusing the same graphics for each class, but doing a recolor for the character, and if I have time in the polish phase I’ll get more fancy than that.

Of course, this raises other problems. If Em is a girl, she can’t very well be a Christian Cleric. If I want to say, “well, suppose she’s a nun, and while that’s a very different set of powers in real life, there can be overlap in game mechanics,” then what is her equivalent to a warrior monk?

I could just say, “they’re all boys; deal with it.” It would be a pretty good selling point. It might make social justice types mad enough to advertise my game. Bands of Brothers are under attack by the forces of evil, and pushing back is a noble cause.

But on the flip side, I want the four elemental fiends to be analogues for the heroes, to be “this is you in a hundred years if you turn evil”, and in Final Fantasy at least, one of the elemental fiends is definitely female.

So here is a puzzle. I do not suffer a woman to be a Christian priest, even in science fantasy, but I want one of the character’s direct analogues to be female and I want all four characters to be allowed all six classes.

I don’t have a solution yet. My best solution is probably to make Em male, and make the Kary/Marilth analogue male as well, but it’s going to be months, possibly more than a year, before I actually have to make my call. So I’m not going to stress over it. If a better solution exists, it will present itself in that time.

In the mean while, I’m going to continue developing the concept art along the current lines. After all, it’s not final art. It’s just a white elephant gift for a small party.

Captain’s Log 0201221.061, Transfigurating

That’s 50 pages done, for a book length of 52 pages. But of course, we’re not done with the story yet. So we’re looking at a final book of 80 to 100 pages, I think. I guess we’ll see when we get there.

I don’t expect to get a lot done this week. In addition to taking Wednesday and Sunday off, as is my custom, I will also be taking Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off.

And I am no longer certain the storyboard will be complete by the end of December. Because I have prior engagements for January, however, I will be dropping it come January whether it is done or not. So, here’s hoping and praying I am inspired to get it finished by then. If not, it may be months before I get back to it.