Archives for the month of: June, 2017

So this week has been a rough week for Kana Quest. This has mainly been because my grandfather’s health has deteriorated quite significantly so my mind has been elsewhere. But hey somethings did get done so without further ado here’s what I got done.

First thing I got done was I have fully implemented a medal system into Kana Quest. This allows the player to choose their own difficulty. A gold medal will be earned by completing a level in the minimum number of moves. A silver medal will be earned by completing the level within two or three moves beyond the minimum. And bronze medals are earned for completing the level in any amount of moves.


Seen below is a demonstration of the player losing the medal they earn based on how many moves they use.


finishedlevelThis is a wip of the gui that will appear once the level is complete. I like the cool rainbow next level button but I’ve gotten a bunch of feedback that it doesn’t fit with the art style. A variant of this gui will appear depending on the medal the player earns.




The last thing that I achieved was debugging the new movement script from last week. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of the main bugs that were plaguing that script but now things are much more stable. There is still some bugs in there but I have had a much harder time replicating those bugs so they remain in until I can consistently trigger those bugs to get rid of them.

Anyway hope you all have a good weekend. I’ll see you next week.

Hey. So this week was the monthly IGDA (International Game Developers Association) meet up and I went to that to do a playtest of Kana Quest.

So my play test process has been polish to a stable state, give to players, see what breaks and what players don’t like. The main points of feedback from this playtest were quite different from the last one I did. The main point of feedback from the first playtest was that my tutorial was awful and levels got too hard too fast. Now in this playtest as the tutorial is less awful (still not perfect) and I’ve smoothed the difficulty curve, players gave different feedback because there weren’t these big glaring issues.

So the list of feedback I got was as follows.

  • Click and drag action for moving tiles needs more visual feedback
  • The move limit is frustrating
  • The next level sign and the tile matcher effect clashes with the rest of the art
  • levels should immediately proceed to the next level
  • I should have an option at the end of a level to show all the English at once
  • The new kana effect does not read well.

There were other comments and suggestions but these were the most consistent across players.

So this week I have been trying to implement changes based on these problems. But sadly I only really got to two things on this list.

The first thing I addressed was the visual feedback for moving tiles. And this took way longer than it should have. Still has some bugs but it doesn’t break all the time any more (only 5% of the time which is still not good but its better than 50%). So now if you click and drag a Kana it will move with your mouse, and the tile that is being swapped with the current tile will move too. NewSlide

So the bugs that remain are as follows. Sometimes if the player drags really far sometimes the two tiles will end on top of each other. Then the other problem is that if the player drags in one direction and then changes the direction you get this nasty looking pop that you can see when the blank tile is being moved above. And lastly you can get the tile dragging while it is showing you the English side, which just looks kinda clunky.

Secondly I have started working in a “three star system” like in a lot of mobile games. It allows me to have a variable difficulty that the player chooses and lowers the barrier to entry a little bit more. Except I will do it with medals, gold, silver and bronze. You can see the silver medal above in the gif.

The last thing I did this week was not done in the game but was still important. I made my business card.

I’ve been putting this thing off for so long. And now it is done. Yay me.

That’s all from me this week.  Next week I will finish the “three start system”, I will try squashing the last of the movement bugs and I’ll get to the rest of the problems on the list.

So this week Kana Quest has progressed slowly. Not gonna lie. But sometimes you need to take a step back from making a thing so you can continue pressing on in a healthy direction. But still I’ll show you all what I’ve made, why I’ve made it and all that.
HavaVer2So this is a character that I have made for the tutorial sections of the first world. I have a plan of how each world is going to look like and what theme each one will have. The first world is all about Sakura flowers. This is because spring signifies new beginnings in most cultures and the symbol for spring in Japan is Sakura. Another cute thing to note is the academic school year begins during Sakura season. So it makes sense to start a new journey about learning new things. Anyway this character is called Hanna because the word for flower in Japanese is Hana (I’m a sucker for multilingual puns).
So one major problem I’ve encountered this week was one coming from my own art.  So the plan for Hanna is that she will be speaking to the player via text box. And this will be overlay on-top of the background (See Below). The problem is the background commands a lot of attention and I can’t just put Hanna on-top of it. If I do it will look awful. And to be honest this has been just further frustrating me about the background art. I really want to re-do it to make it more usable but I’m afraid I will be falling into the trap of never finishing anything. So for now I am going to leave it. I will make note of future backgrounds to avoid the traps that I have put myself into from that first background.TutorialScriptSkipButton

The things I will do for future backgrounds are as follows.

  • Use less colors and stay strictly within color pallet
  • Don’t make the image a fixed size. It limits my ability to add new levels should I need to.
  • Make sure you set up the backgrounds to parallax this way worlds can be as large or small as I like.
  • Make the visual level counters an even distance apart.


SlimeTilesThe last thing I want to show this week is the Slime Tiles. This is the finished art of a mechanic that has been finished for a while. Basically all the Hiragana that don’t have a consonant (a,i,u,e,o) when used with another Hiragana will change the other Hiragana. For example using o (far right in above gif) with a Ka (far left in tutorial demo gif) will change the Ka to a Ko. Once used with another tile the changed tile will have that same transparent slimy color over it so the player can track the change. I really like this mechanic because it solves a couple of problems. First it makes a,i,u,e,o function differently from other kana that have both a vowel and a consonant. The reason this is important is that if they didn’t behave differently they would just restrict level design space for no real reason as they can only be matched with similar vowels as they have no consonant. Secondly they get the player to focus on the sounds of the tiles in interesting ways. This way the game isn’t just a puzzle of “how to I move the tiles around in the most efficient way”?

So that’s my progress for the week. If anyone has any questions about Kana Quest or design choices please feel free to ask!

Till next time.