Programming week: Map System!

Hey, everyone! Been in a writing/programming mood lately, so I haven’t been streaming. I’ll get back to more sprite work this week, so look forward to it! (http://twitch.tv/aaazareal, from 3-6PM PST)

Anyway, some important news: I changed the resolution from 4:3 to 16:9. The game is now running at 1280 x 720, which is a good size larger than its original 800×600. I’d love to port the game into Android sometime, so I figured I might as well do it at this resolution! ūüėÄ

Map System

Essentially, there’s two types of Map systems in the game:
* A side-scrolling Exploration system
* A list-style Navigation system

Exploration System

Players will be able to run around the camp, interacting with objects and people!

You know all the Random Events you’d see when playing the game? Instead of popping up during the Weekly Planner, you’ll see the majority of them while exploring camp instead. If the player finds two characters speaking to each other, you’ll have to interact with them in order to see the event. Most of the Random Events are the main character observing/eavesdropping anyway, so I think it’s a more natural way of showing the scenes. Besides, if you don’t want to see it, you can just ignore them and go on your merry way!

mapcomicskldfj

Important Character Events, while they can be seen while Exploring, can also be seen in other ways. Running around isn’t necessary if you don’t want to, though you lose out on some helpful things if you do. (more Random Events, finding items, doing quests, bonuses to stat gains, more opportunities to raise stats, etc…)

aides

General Tiberus’ Aides

Anyway, the biggest reason I’ve added this is to have an easier way to expand on the backstory of Minor Characters. There’s a good number of minor characters that play a major role to the plot (usually in Part II) and it’s been difficult trying to find a way to have events with them while not 1) annoying the player by forcing a character they don’t care about into their game, 2) annoying the player because there’s an event every other day, and 3) making things harder for myself by adding a million choices.

I know, I know… “Minor characters? Who cares?” Yeah, I don’t usually care about Love Interest’s Greatest Rival “Bob” or Generic Soldier #34 with Funny Quirk myself, but I like to think my characters are interesting, so I want to show them off… ^q^;; Obviously not nearly to the extent of the Main Characters, but at least to make motivations clear, you know?!

Navigation System

If players don’t want to add XX hours to their gameplay by running around and exploring, there’s a Navigation system in place, too. Basically, it’s a screen which allows players to move between maps, interact with characters, or expand on the Exploration System (secret still ^q^/). Only major characters will be included in these, so you can’t talk to Random Soldier A like you’d normally be able to in Exploration.

screenshot0030.png

There will also be a good variety of interactions– especially with characters– not limited to “Speak”, “Give Gift”, and “Ask for Training”. Exploring the map can unlock certain topics, for example, and players will be able to ask the characters about it. Having certain items in your inventory also opens up new choices (Extort Money). Certain days of the week has characters doing something else, and you might be able to join them!


Anyway, I don’t want to talk too much about the details of the Map systems and how each element works. But How do people feel about it? Are there any concerns or grievances that people have with the ideas so far? (Exploration and Navigation Maps) I know Battle systems, for example, can make people uneasy, mostly because a good majority of them (especially in VNs) aren’t really fun. Cool for a developer, but unfortunately not so much as a player. x’) I’d like to keep those issues in mind, since this is a long game and I don’t want players to put up with annoying things.

For example, people can be concerned about: slow walking/running speed, weird controls, unnecessary number of clicks, speed between transitions, performance issues in general, its importance or its role to the game and the other mechanics, etc… There might be some more things, but I’d love to hear what you guys would be concerned about when walking through a map. I can try to brainstorm some solutions to them while I cobble out the code.

So yeah, if you have any concerns, let me know! It’d be extremely helpful!! *v*/


I was going to talk about more stuff, but this post is really long already, so I’ll just update next week with more programming stuff! x) I hope everyone’s doing well!

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Update: Version Updates & Fixes

Hey, everyone! Sorry, I streamed only twice this week. I got way too self-conscious about writing while streaming, and it felt like a huge waste of time trying to do both simultaneously. I’ve also been exhausted lately, but that’s probably because I write best when I’m half-asleep. “orz

Anyway, I did get a few things done. Most notably, I updated my Ren’Py this week! It’s notable because the last, last time I updated, there was a huge update which caused my game to stop functioning properly. This time it didn’t happen; in fact, it fixed a lot of problems that I had, especially with storing variables and class methods! ūüėÄ

I basically spent the week reading through the documentation and change log, and replacing depreciated code.

Doodle

On the Map System:
So, I managed to figure out how to get the game to cache the displayables that I want! It’s renpy.start_predict_screen() and renpy.start_predict(), if anyone’s curious. After fixing that up, the memory leak problem I had went down a third, and was more infrequent!

There’s still a significant increase every 4 seconds or so, though. I was in the process of attempting to clobber Pygame into this, but, like, after the Version update, the memory leak completely disappeared!!

… Well, not completely. x) I still need to check it and run it through saves, since it looks like the memory climbs up a little with each instance of the code. But from a superficial level? It’s looking like I’ll be able to use it in the game. I’ll talk more about it next week, since it’ll be a huge feature, like the new Daily System! x)

Anyway, thanks for following development! I hope I’ll produce a lot art assets, get some features coded, and have lots more writing done this week to show off!

Pose #1 Sprites Done!

I said I would work on programming, and two weeks later, I still haven’t touched it. >v>;;; I also underestimated how long it would take to finish the first sprites, but I finally did it!!

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I’ll be fixing these up every once in a while, but these’ll be the final sprites and designs for the game.

For those following my Twitch.tv channel, I’ll be working on writing this week! Maybe I’ll even try to eke out some Python (jk, probably not ^q^;;; ). Anyway, if you want to see spoilers or if you just want to listen to anime/Japanese music for a few hours, come visit! I’ll try to stream everyday this week from 3PM – 6PM PST. I won’t be able to speak to people, but everyone else is super nice in the chat!

I’ll also do my best to keep the biggest spoilers a secret, but accidents happen. So if you don’t want to see spoilers (or if you don’t want to wait for me to type out a single sentence every 30 minutes), you might want to avoid this week! x)

In any case, I want to thank everyone for the support again. I’m incredibly humbled by everyone’s kindness and interest. I know I don’t always reply to comments in a timely manner, but I do read them, and I am extremely, extremely touched, as well as grateful, that you’ve taken the time to comment.

Thanks again, everyone!

Update #??

… Or, rather, lack of an update!¬†Had a¬†really busy week this week and didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted to work on stuff. Sorry!¬†o|-<

Pose #1 of all the (main) characters (8) will probably be finished this week, though! Following that, I’ll be cycling through everyone’s second pose,¬†then third, and so on. Each character should have at least¬†4 poses in the game, but that includes both unique poses or just¬†minor alterations like arm or head adjustments. That’s the plan, anyway!

mod

Anyway, as for programming, remember my side-scrolling, map exploration idea? I took a look at the code and I think I found out what was¬†causing the memory leak: a combination of improper image caching and an update function that doesn’t properly kill itself. See, after 10+ hours of runtime, the program¬†accumulates 1.9 GBs of RAM¬†before crashing, even when not on the offending screen. It’s a terrible problem. Anyway, I’ve gone and added an Autosave that¬†saves at the beginning of a week just so people don’t lose hours and hours of gameplay. Of course, I’m still going to try to fix this, or at least find another way to program¬†this.

As for the Daily System I promised to finish this week, I’ve run into a few problems here, too. Other than the code needing massive updating, I’ve also got a problem with data being saved. Saving¬†and Loading¬†causes a lot of¬†errors, so I’m going to try to get this fixed. The¬†Daily System needs an efficient way of generating, storing, and retrieving Events.

So, here are my programming goals for this week:

  1. Implement smarter and more proper image caching; particularly for the map/exploration system
    1. Consider Pygame for map/exploration system & integrating it with Ren’Py
  2. Make sure data (particularly changes made in Python) stores¬†into Ren’Py variables; would be nice to write a¬†function or find something that does this
    1. Consider dictionaries instead of classes to store data
  3. If there’s time, update code, both in Ren’Py and Python
  4. Organize code¬†so it’s not so messy

Update and On Writing

Thank you so, so much, everyone, for all the comments in the last post. I’m incredibly touched, incredibly happy, and incredibly humbled by everyone’s kindness. I’ll work hard, and repay your kindness with something hopefully you’ll enjoy!

asdfasdfUPDATE
I’ve been working on getting sprites done. I might do touch-ups once in a while, but these will be the final sprites of the game. I’ll try to get the default poses done by this week, then I’ll cycle through everyone’s sprites after that until everything is done!

A big, big¬† THANK YOU! to everyone that’s come to my stream! I’m really honored that you guys came by. It’s absolutely wonderful talking to you all! I hope I can be more outgoing as I get used to this.clickbait >v<

Anyway, for those that are interested: my stream is here:

http://www.twitch.tv/aaazareal

I’ll be streaming art stuff from 3PM PST – 6PM, whenever. I might do more or less depending on what I’m feeling up to.

I usually do sketches for one session, lineart for another, then, lastly, coloring. At the end of the streams when I finish coloring, everyone in the chat decides what kind of “Clickbait Thumbnail” we want to make out of the characters. I’ll be finishing up Ali’sakir’s today, so drop by and let’s have fun! >v</

You can see all my tools/settings and what I do when I art (mostly Undo 4,000,000 times). If you have any questions or whatever, feel totally free to ask! ^^

Now, let me speak about the writing status of Magicians of Delphine!

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Update & RPG Maker Bundle

Statistics:

The game contains 23,551 dialogue blocks, containing 335,881 words and
1,808,224 characters, for an average of 14.3 words and 77 characters per
block.s

The game contains 172 menus, 320 images, and 27 screens.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been working on this game very much this week. My nightmares stopped once I stopped taking my medication, but now I’m passed out for 12-15 hours a day and my appetite is dead. I haven’t found much energy to work on anything, so I think I’ll just make do with my nightmares so I can find the energy to take up my plan. Namely, my commissions, 1,667 word count, 1 sprite, and background thumbnails…

Behold my brother’s artistic skills!

I did manage to program a feature I wanted to include– a side-scrolling exploration system where you run around a map interacting with objects– but there’s a memory leak so I’ll have to rewrite it. It’d be cool to show this off with .gifs, but it’s not ready.

Faeran’s conversation events are finished, though, and Rima’s are half finished, at 78 out of 96 scenes.

By the way, BundleStars has an Ultimate Game Makers bundle out if people want to play around with that. RPG Maker XP ($24.99) is part of the $2.99 tier, while RPG Maker VX Ace ($69.99) is at the $7.99 tier. Both are really nice. There’s also RPG Maker MV, the latest installment released just this October, but it’s still at full price at $79.99.

Anyway, the reason I mention the RPG Maker bundle is because people were mentioning trying something new to combat depression, and luckily for me, this came out. If people are interested, why not try it out, too? It’d be great to have more games to play!

Conversation Topics

Uhh, I meant to schedule this for Monday and it posted and apparently updated people in the email list. I’m just going to post it now since it’s already been published, and just skip Monday’s update. :’) Sorry!


Writing things I’ve completed this week:

  • Yue’s conversation dialogues. Every month, speaking to Yue gets you a unique but short dialogue, although some scenes don’t appear if you don’t have high enough affection.
  • Sho’s conversation dialogues.
  • Ali’sakir’s conversation dialogues.
  • Reziel’s conversation dialogues.
  • Tiberus’s conversation dialogues.

58/92 scenarios completed! Faeran, Rima, and Sitri are all that’s left.

Conversation Topics
How do people feel about conversation topics? Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side 1, 2, and 3 had things like that, where if you’re lucky, you’d have the opportunity to ask a character questions like, “What’s your favorite ____”, “Interests”, and “Aspirations” when you’re walking home with them. You’d also get the opportunity to ask really interesting questions like, “Have you ever thought of falling in love?”, “What do you think about kissing?”, and “What kind of girl do you like?” at really high affection points.

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