Towards The Pantheon Devlog #4: Portraits and Enemies

Published / by connorortlinning@gmail.com

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 4th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

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I have been mostly scripting the past two weeks. If you click the image above, you can see a gif of Phenez moving through one of the snow region cities with snow and mist effects. I added more basic mechanics such as roaming animal AI, the dialog system having a typewriter effect, and I am now working on the battle engine. Click the image below to see the typewriter effect as well as roaming chickens in a test level!

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Leandro has been working hard on the game’s art, here’s the first sneak peek at an enemy designed by Kyle Mountifield and myself for the game:

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I’m still not going to reveal much about the enemies and battle system until it’s fully implemented, but when it is I will be posting lots of animated gifs. One thing I have said though is that each of the four characters have their own unique battle mechanics that will make battling more interesting.

We’ve also shown some of the dialog system portrait art by Leandro for the four main characters Freyja, Bam, Mishima, and Phenez. We have various facial expressions for each character so that they change along with the tone of the dialog.

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I have uploaded two new soundtrack demos “Nightshade” and “Battle Music test” on the Soundcloud playlist. The playlist will soon be reworked so that only tracks that are being used in the game will be featured. Many of these tracks were just sound design demos, but they may reappear in different forms in the games if I want to reuse the melodies. I finally feel like I’ve figured out more of the sound design and how much of a mix there should be of chiptune and modern synth elements in the soundtrack, so further along in development I will begin working harder on the final music.

A new collectible system has been added to the game that also effects the battle system, but I will reveal more about that when it is fully implemented. When developing past games like Overlooker and Overlooker 2 I have tried to always decrease the scope of the game wherever possible instead of increase it. In this instance, once I thought of the idea and realized how easy it would be to implement I decided to go for it as I have already decreased scope in other areas. Since I will wait to reveal more about the system, here are some new screenshots. Click on them to view them full size!

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This will be my second last devlog before I begin working on the game full time at the start of next month! After the next devlog I will begin streaming more of the game’s development on Twitch, so be sure to follow me there and subscribe for updates as to when I go live. I will also begin writing devlogs weekly instead of bi-weekly, as I will be making much more progress. Besides roughly six part time shifts throughout September, I will be working full time on the game all the way until Summer of 2017 and I am very excited. See you next time!

If you enjoyed this devlog follow the game and us developers on social media for more frequent smaller updates!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, & Pinterest!

Follow lead developer & soundtrack composer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!

Thanks for reading!

Towards The Pantheon Devlog #3: Comfy Progress While Sippin Green Tea

Published / by connorortlinning@gmail.com

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 3rd devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

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Click on the above image to see some effects!

I’ve been working on various scripts for the game. Above you can see a gif of Bam the cat walking around the mines with some basic fog and lighting effects. I will most likely make the fog more pixelated to match the art style in the future, but the main idea is there. You’ll also notice he is standing on minecart tracks. If I have time during the game’s development I’d love to make a minecart mini game!

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Leandro has been hard at work finishing up the basic tiles for each area of the game! Here you can see new tiles for the sewer area and the insides of the forest region houses, and below you can see the insides of the viking houses that the cats live in. This means that we now have basic tiles for every area of the game. We now have a good idea of how the game looks, which allows Leandro to move forward with working on more of the art assets that are needed!

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I’ve also been working on falling snow and mist effects for the snow region. There is still some work to do to make the effects fit better, but below you can see my first bits of progress. I will be continuing work on this during the next week and will post a new gif when progress has been made that looks better. The snow and mist are programmed so that I can increase and decrease the intensity as I see fit which will provide some variety throughout the region.

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Click on the image to see the snow and mist effects!

In Towards The Pantheon there are cute hamsters that you can ride to quickly travel between areas called the Speedsters. While exploring the different regions of the game you will come across rare tokens which unlock each Speedsters’ service, adding their station to the list of nodes you can travel to and from. This will drastically shorten the time you would have to spend backtracking through parts of the game. I began working on the theme for the Speedsters so check out the soundtrack demo on Soundcloud!

Leandro has also begun working on character portraits that will be used predominately throughout dialog, and I’ve begun implementing the dialog system. I still have work to do in making the dialog box more appealing to the eye, as well as possibly adding more sub-features such as a typewriter effect, but the basic implementation is working!

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Click the image above to see progress on the dialog box!

I’ve ordered myself some books on both European and Japanese culture and mythology to do further research, as two of the regions of Towards The Pantheon are heavily inspired by these cultures. It’s not a coincidence that two of the main characters are named Freyja and Mishima! I’ve also ordered some more green tea so that I’ll be able to drink plenty while working on the game full time starting sometime next month. I’ve been sipping green tea and listening to Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Golden Sun, and Super Mario soundtracks while working on the game so far and I can’t wait to work full time on this! Everything has been coming together quite well and if all goes according to plan I will have the first two chapters of the game complete before the end of the year. I can then send off the demo to my friends who have offered to playtest the game and get feedback while working on the remaining chapters.

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A view of the main test level from inside GameMaker Studio!

I’ve also made an Imgur album to post progress in so if you frequent that site please follow and show some love.

That’s it for this devlog, the next devlog will be posted roughly 2 weeks from now.

If you enjoyed this devlog follow the game and us developers on social media for more frequent smaller updates!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!

Thanks for reading!

Towards The Pantheon Devlog #2: Laying The Foundation!

Published / by connorortlinning@gmail.com

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon‘s 2nd devlog! You can read the first devlog “Getting Started!” here.

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New area reveal; a dystopian cyberpunk city!

For the past two weeks, a lot of basic scripting for the game has taken place. Essentially I have been copying over and refactoring scripts from my previous games Overlooker and Overlooker 2 that are the foundation for the overworld mechanics. This includes things such as textboxes that pop up when you examine things such as signposts and bookshelves, an options menu that lets you exit the game, the ability to switch between the four main characters, basic movement, collision, and more.

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Each character has unique overworld mechanics

I did encounter one of the most bizarre bugs I have ever seen. For the textbox I was using GML’s draw_rectangle() function to draw a semi-transparent black box over half the screen so that the text on top would stand out more. When I tested it, objects such as trees in the overworld would disappear while cycling through the textbox, and then reappear when finished. I changed the depth of the textbox object and saw that for some reason GameMaker was taking the tree sprite and drawing stretched versions of it over the map. I have absolutely no idea why it would do that instead of drawing a rectangle, and it’s even more bizarre considering that it was the same code I had used for textboxes in Overlooker 2. I could not find anyone who had a similar bug when searching Google, so I replaced the draw_rectangle() call with drawing a sprite as the textboxes will most likely have their own artwork instead of being simple rectangles anyways. Problem avoided, but still bizarre! That is the first bug I’ve had in GameMaker that was completely baffling.

Edit 7/25/2016: Reinstalled GameMaker Studio and the bugs I had been encountering have disappeared.

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I have been working on sound design for the game’s soundtrack, but have not posted any new soundtrack demos since the last batch. I am still having some trouble deciding on how the music should sound, but I think with the basic gameplay mechanics being implemented and artwork being put into the engine it will be easier to figure that out while playing the game.

synthsSetting up the Korg Karma (and JV2080X) for sound design experiments!

Our artist Leandro has been doing great work, and we’ve revealed two new areas that he has worked on; the wasteland (below) and cyberpunk city (above). He has been working on tiles for other areas and sprites for the main characters, and more artwork and areas will be revealed over time so be sure to follow the Towards The Pantheon social media accounts below to keep up to date!

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Testing out depth, walking, running, and recording gifs for social media

I am very happy with the progress so far considering I work a full time job, work with 2 other game development teams, and have other obligations. I will begin working full time on the game in less than 2 months, and I think I’ll have a large majority of the game’s mechanics implemented so I can focus on level creation, balancing, and playtesting. My friend Kyle Mountifield has helped me finish up enemy and boss designs, and he will be a big help in content creation and playtesting! I’m also fortunate to have some other great friends who will be helping out with playtesting throughout development.

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Phenez and Mishima in the new wasteland area

That’s it for this devlog, the next devlog will be posted roughly 2 weeks from now!

If you enjoyed this devlog follow the game and us developers on social media for more frequent smaller updates!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, & Youtube!

Thanks for reading!

New Album Rêves is out now!

Published / by connorortlinning@gmail.com

My new album Rêves is out now! 24 minutes of melodic piano music mixed with drone, noise, and dark ambient elements inspired by European myths and fairy tales. All of the music on this album was improvised; no retakes or edits.

Stream it on Youtube:

Stream and/or Purchase it on Bandcamp:

Towards The Pantheon Devlog #1: Getting Started!

Published / by connorortlinning@gmail.com

Time for the first devlog of Towards The Pantheon, the new game I’m working on!

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During my last semester of university I started brainstorming what I should work on as my first commercial game. Eventually I came up with all the main ideas for Towards The Pantheon such as party members, plot, and game design, and I have been saving enough money from my full time job to be able to work on the game full time after the summer. I’m excited to say that things are coming along great!

Aside from a few concepts I need to finalize such as how exactly the leveling up system will work, the rest of the game design is finished. Leandro of Tok Arts has been working on artwork for the game, I’ve been working on the soundtrack and programming, and my friend Kyle has helped with some area and monster designs.

You can stream some of the first soundtrack demos above on my Soundcloud page that my  friend Nic has helped run with me. I’m still trying to figure out the style of the soundtrack; which synths and samples to use, how much modern synth and old school chiptune influences there should be, and some stylistic things. You can hear that in the current six tracks; Broderskap (Norwegian for “Brotherhood”) is more orchestral, Battle In The Sewers has a heavier bass line, A Barren Wasteland, Six Six Five, and Lost In A Blizzard show the dark ambient and drone influences that will appear in the ice area and survival horror influenced area, and Sleep Tight is an attempt at a quick jingle that will play when you go to sleep.

What I would like as the end result of the soundtrack is to have different musical styles for each main area of the game tied together by some similar melodies and chord progressions. I think that would make each area feel unique, while having the soundtrack overall feel conceptual. I am excited to see how my progress with the soundtrack goes over the next year!

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Leandro has been working on sprites for the four main characters as well as the first tiles for each of the main areas of the game. I’ve been very happy with the artwork so far, and can’t wait to see his next batches of work!

Myself and Kyle (who just logged into Tree Of Savior as I write this) have finished up the Monster designs, and we only have a few boss designs to finish.

picThe forest area will be the first in the game as it is the most traditional RPG area

On the programming side of things, I’ve decided to split the work into two areas; overworld mechanics and battle mechanics. Fortunately a lot of the basic overworld mechanics from my previous demos Overlooker and Overlooker 2 can be carried over and soon I will continue working on the new mechanics. Once the overworld mechanics are completed, I will switch over and work on the battle mechanics which will be more challenging. The battle system will be somewhat similar to Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door where the stats are simplified compared to games such as Final Fantasy but still challenging.

A2One of the main characters Bam the cat is based on my real cat

This devlog is a bit simpler than what I will focus on in future devlogs. For the past week or so I’ve been focusing on getting social media accounts up and running for the game, finalizing game design decisions, starting work with Leandro, and starting the first bit of soundtrack and programming work. Future devlogs will be much more in depth regarding the various challenges that I will face while developing this game. I love seeing the behind the scenes processes of my favorite media, so I’m going to try and update roughly every second week with a new devlog in case others can get a similar enjoyment from them. After all, my goal in music and game development is to try and make something that has the same kind of effect my favorite music and games had on me!

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Can’t wait to see how the ice area will look after programming snow and fog effects!

If you enjoyed this devlog follow the game and us developers on social media for more frequent smaller updates!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!

Follow Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, & Youtube!

Thanks for reading!