Archives for posts with tag: Update

Hey welcome to this week’s Kana Quest Dev Blog. Where I get to talk all about what I’ve been doing for the last week. What I achieved, what problems I had and how I solved those problems for my game Kana Quest (A Puzzle game that’s a cross between dominoes and a match three game that teaches the Japanese phonetic Alphabet).

So PAX Aus is now less than a month away. This means most of my energy is being spent preparing for that. As a result very little new content for is going to be made for the game. I’m patching bugs certainly, but making new content will have to wait for now.

KanaQuestPAXBanner180dpi.jpgKanaQuestPAXBanner280dpi.jpgSo what sort of things are taking up so much time? Well mainly getting my booth ready. I learned from AVCon earlier this year, that your presentation matters. It matters a lot. Thankfully PAX provides printing of artwork included in the booking of the booth which will improve my baseline presentation a bunch. But I do need to make the artwork for those posters. As of this week I can officially say that I have been given grant money by Creative Victoria to attend PAX Aus which is amazing and I of coarse can’t thank them enough. And that bright pink banner topper is part of the conditions of the grant. I have to display the Melbourne International Games Week branding on my booth. Which I am more than happy to do. I also made an English version of the Kana Quest Logo as at AVCon I realized that most people had to ASK what the name of the game is. I want my players to know the name of the game without asking so it was a natural addition.

One big achievement this week was this little beauty (please imaging me saying beauty in a really strong Aussie accent).

TaxAccept.pngTurns out getting my tax information verified by Valve turned out to be a bit of a headache. I’ve been trying to get it done for last three weeks and its been very frustrating to do. I do need to give massive shout out to Carmine Fantarella at Games of Edan (Link: gamesofedan.com/icebox-speedgunner#_=_ ) . He provided a bunch of help in this department. So I do want to give thanks where thanks is due. If you like fast paced action games go check out his game ICEBOX: Speed Gunner, its really sweet and just plays amazingly.

So now that Kana Quest is on Steam what’s the next step? Well the next step is setting up my Steam Storefront. This means I need to make a trailer, prepare some HD screenshots and once again make sure my presentation is top notch. Once I’ve done that I’ll submit the game to Valve, they will review it and it will go onto the Coming Soon section.

 

Finally for this week we have the tutorial. For as long as this game has existed teaching players how to PLAY the game. Which is saying something as the first people to ever play the game were two native speakers of Japanese. This week I finally got sick of my tutorials not working so I sat down and made a list of skills the player needs to have to play the game.

  • Know how to flip the Kana to see the English
  • Know how to move the Kana.
  • Know how Kana match with each other.
  • Understand the win state of each level.
  • Know what the undo and restart buttons are.
  • Understand that Stone Kana can’t be moved.

So I went off and made the following tutorial level.NewTutorial5.gif

So this tutorial level does a few things differently to all previous versions. Firstly this tutorial takes place entirely on only once scene. This means I can add new concepts one at a time and those additions will be the focus of attention. It also is much harder to sequence break than previous version. Actually I specifically made it impossible to do so. I can’t afford players who just skip the tutorial as they will be lost. Anyway I need to now playtest this new tutorial to ensure that it’s up to the task of teaching everyone at PAX Aus.

And with that, another Dev Blog comes to an end for another week. If you are interested in Kana Quest please follow me on twitter @notdeaddesigner or follow my blog here on WordPress. I hope you all have a great weekend, till next time.

 

Advertisements

Hi Welcome to the Dev Blog for Kana Quest. If you’re new here and have never seen or heard of Kana Quest, read this blog post for the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of Kana Quest. –> https://kipentheodor.wordpress.com/2017/09/09/kana-quest-primer/

Otherwise read on to hear about what’s been done over the last week!

So I have one and a half months till PAX Aus hits. And I am officially freaking out. There is so much to do and so little time for me to do it. I still have to get Kana Quest onto Steam so I can take preorders at PAX. I still have to implement some sound into the game. I still have to organize my booth’s set up. There are still some bugs that need to be ironed out. I need to make an awesome trailer to show off my game. And finally the one thing that has me worried most of all, my tutorial is still awful.

The tutorial has always Kana Quest’s biggest weakness. I tried to sit down this week and think about all the common misconceptions people have when they sit down and play.

  • They think they are writing words.
  • They think Hiragana is Kanji and start freaking out they don’t know the meaning of each letter.
  • They don’t understand they are trying to match sounds.
  • They don’t understand the win state.

So how am I going to prevent the player from thinking these things?

I

Don’t

Know

That’s it. The reality is I’m just not sure. But I cannot afford to give up. So here are some ideas I have that hopefully will help fix the problem.

Idea 1. Completion Gauge: So most people when playing are not sure what their goal is. If I give a visual representation of how close the level is to being completed it will better communicate the goal. I think it will help players know how close they are to completing a level, but not necessarily understand why they are completing the level.  CompletionGauge2.gif

As you can see I have already started work on this idea, mainly because I think this is my best one. To get this working though I have had to change how I handle checking whether or not the level is complete. Now the game will find the largest group of Kana in the level. Before the game would only actually check the group size starting from one location. I had to change this as if that starting location was the last to be connected it would be very easy to have a situation where the gauge goes from zero to full which would only confuse player further.

Idea 2. Show the Player the Hiragana Table: So the idea here is to show the player the whole Hiragana table after they learn their first three Kana. Hopefully this will demonstrate to the player that Kana are phonetic letters and not Kanji (which are pictorial). The other great advantage of doing this is I prepare the player for all the characters that they will learn. That way they don’t freak out that they are going to have HUNDREDS of Kana to memorize. HiraganaTableGif.gif

Idea 3. Show the English Sounds Matching in Tutorial Levels: The idea behind this one is that the player doesn’t get to see where things are matching. While this is a core part of the gameplay later on, for the tutorial the most important thing is that the player understands the core mechanic. If showing the English for a little bit will achieve this I’ll try it!

Idea 4. Change the Structure of Tutorial Levels: So the idea here is that I increase the size of the early levels but not increase the difficulty. What I’m thinking is a really long level with the same Kana repeating but with stone Kana to limit movement. Coupled with the completion gauge hopefully this will communicate the idea that creating matches is the goal.

So those are my ideas on how to improve the tutorial. They aren’t perfect so if you have any ideas, PLEASE TELL MEEEE! I’ll see you all in a week’s time where hopefully I haven’t turned into a stressed out wreck.

Hey, Welcome to this week’s Kana Quest Devblog where I talk about all the work I’ve done during the week.

So this week has been mostly about getting elements of the second world working ASAP. With PAX Aus fast approaching there are three major things I need to get done before then. First is World 2, second is getting it working on IOS and android and third is putting in some sound.

So most of implementing World 2 is done, the only tasks left on the plate is a tutorial for how to move to World 2, a tutorial for the mystery tile mechanic and finally all the levels. I’m trying to finish working on World 2 by the end of August so I have plenty of time to get the other things on my list done.

So I have two GIFs to show off this week. The first is a lock out screen if the player tries to move to World 2 without meeting the requirements.

World2LockedScreen

The other GIF for this week is a quick demo of how Mystery Kana work. So mystery tiles, cannot be moved and you cannot see the actual Kana. But they will match like normal Kana do. Using that information the player has to figure out what Kana is hiding behind that disguise. In this gif you can see the mystery matches with Ki and Na but not Ko.  This means that the Mystery tile must have the vowel “i” because if it was matching with the consonant Ko would match.  Then since we know that the vowel is “i” when we see Na match we know that the consonant is “n”. Add those sounds together and you get Ni. MysteryTileDemo2.gif

So there are a few things to keep in mind about Mystery Kana. Even if all the Kana match up if there are any Mystery Kana the level will not be complete. Secondly once you figure out the sound of a mystery tile, it will become a normal tile that you can move freely. This is great because it allows more interesting levels. For example you can make levels that are impossible to complete without unmasking all the mystery tiles.  This definitely increases the design space of Mystery Kana a lot.

Anyway that’s the devblog for this week. Hope you have a good weekend, and I’ll see you next week.

Before we get into the meat of this week’s update I just have some big news about Kana Quest. Officially Kana Quest is going to be heading to PAX Aus this year! If you are planning on coming come say hi and give the game a go! I would love to hear your feedback! And if you have any friends going tell them to check Kana Quest out! Anyway with that done, onto the week’s work!

So this week I’ve been working on implementing the second world into Kana Quest. I’ve known for a while that I want to transition between worlds by clicking and dragging the screen. And for the background art to join up seamlessly. So what’s the process of doing this involved?

world2MoreCurrent Step one was making the background art for world two. This was the easy part. All I really needed to watch out for here was to make sure that all the layers are repeatable so I can make the world as long or short as needed.

 

The next step was ensuring that the two worlds can transition into each other. This step will be easier in the future thanks to more planning in the world two art but no such planning was done for the first world’s art. As such the seam is a little abrupt. But its not an immediate shift so its better than nothing.

World1to2

MovingToWorld2

Part three was bringing the assets into unity and getting the camera to move when the player clicked and dragged. One small bug occurred with this though. I made my camera a physics object. Turns out any child object of a physics object loses its ability to know if the player is clicking on it. This caused some of my menus to stop working.

 

World2WithParallax.gif

Once we had the camera moving we had to get the background parallaxing with the camera. This means that the foreground art will move more than the background art to create the illusion of depth. This turned out to be troublesome as I kept being able to make my world two art not line up with the first world art. Thus forcing me to find a way to ensure that the art would always come back to the right position. This took half a day. It was not fun.

So here we have the last part of getting this whole thing working. The transition. This gave me the most trouble out of everything and is what I spent most of this week working on. The reason is for the first world I had used a static overlay that would fade in OVER everything in the scene. This overlay would work fine as long as the overlay was the exact same as the background. But once you add a variable camera position you no longer can guarantee this. So things had to change. So now, what is happening is I have a script that finds all the visible parts of the background, and prevents them from being destroyed when a new scene is loaded, then it moves those objects into the same relative position as they were in the previous scene. This is important as the camera’s position changes scene to scene so if this didn’t happen the art would be misaligned, or not in shot at all. Then would take all other objects in the scene and fade them out. Once the new scene is loaded it would get all the new non-background objects in the scene set the transparency to full and fade the new objects in. The result is what you can see below.

FirstWolrd2Level

 

And that was the process involved in adding the second world to the game. All subsequent worlds will be easier as I won’t have to worry about making the last three steps all over again. It will be set up for me already! Anyway I hope you all enjoyed learning about my process.

Till next week.

Another week another update. This week has been kinda slow. This is partly because I’m still slightly recovering from AVCon. The other reason is this week I’m working from home and I always find a way to goof off when I’m at home. (This would be why people have work studios).

That said I do have some fun stuff to show off. The first thing which I am personally most excited for is the background art of the second world!ParralaxTest2GIF.gif

So I am super happy with how this turned out. The biggest thing that is different between this art and the tutorial background is that this has been designed to not be a static image. I drew each part of this background on nine separate layers that will repeat. The reason I have done this is because for each world I want to be able to add as many levels as I want without needing to redraw the art. This was a problem I noticed vary quickly from the first background: that it was drawn for a specific number of levels. If I need to change that number later on, making my backgrounds this way will allow me to do so. So now onto some of the artistic decisions with the piece. So this piece is set in summer following on from the last background that was set in spring. The rice in the foreground is a dead giveaway for this. A couple of other fun things about this piece is that it was inspired by the town I used to live in (Asago in Hyogo Prefecture). Lots of stunning mountains, rice fields everywhere, and ever so slightly worn down buildings. A couple of small details on the buildings is on the announcement board I wrote “テオドの” which basically means “This is Theodor’s”. Yes I am capable of being that vain.

Next up is Katakana. Katakana is one of the three writing systems in Japanese. All the gifs and images shown previously have been of Hiragana. Hiragana and Katakana (mostly) produce the same sounds, but Hiragana is used for native worlds whereas Katakana is used for foreign words. I have planned to have Katakana in the game for a while. The reason is that mechanically they will operate the same as Hiragana and A LOT of people forget their Katakana. So usually what happens is folk spend a lot of time learning Hiragana, then they get to Katakana and are just sick of rote learning letters. So it was simply a matter of when I found the time to implement it. Its not particularly hard to put in, just time consuming. But the first step is getting the Katakana sprites done.

 

Well as of this week I have all the Katakana versions of the normal and slime tiles ready to go. Not gonna put them all up in the blog post because that just takes up space for no real reason. Haven’t got them working in game yet, but the sprites are done so that is one big step to implementing it.

The way it will work in game once implemented is the player will choose Hiragana or Katakana from the options menu. Then all puzzles will appear as they normally would with the selected letters. This way the player can practice the one they want freely.

Ok. That’s me for the week. I’ll see you all next week. Take care.

 

Sorry for there was no Devblog last week but my Grandfather passed away last week and as such there was very little to show for the week. So this is kind of two weeks in one.

So the biggest change to Kana Quest this week is the end of level screen.newEndOfLevelGUI.gif

So the GUI that was just an image last time you saw it. And this is the first implementation of it. There in this GIF there is no numbers on the medal, and some of the buttons don’t work. The biggest change with this GUI is that now the player gets a choice of if they want to go to the next level, retry the current level or go back to the level select area. There is also a close button on this GUI for reasons that you will see in the next GIF.

ShowAllEnglishButton.gif

So this GIF shows two new changes. The most obvious is that there is a “Show English” button. This allows the player to see all the English of the kana once the level is complete. This allows the player to see how the Kana’s sounds interact. The other big change seen in this GIF is that the Kana match effect has been changed. I think it’s a change for the better as it reads a lot better than the stars in between the Kana. It’s still not perfect from my perspective but its a lot better and it is more functional.

NewNewKanaEffect Aaaand lastly we have a revamped new Kana effect. It is is now an external shine rather than an internal shine so it reads a lot better. It took a few goes to get it right but I’m pretty happy how it turned out with this iteration.

And that pretty much covers what I got done this week. I’ll see you next week.

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.

 

So been a while since I was on here.  So what have I been doing?

Basically since I last posted I have decided to dedicate all my time to making my game Kana Quest. I’ve just been forgetting to upload updates to this blog cos I’m good at the social of the medias. Speaking of the social media, I’ve been trying real hard to get twitter working for me. So if you want more immediate updates on Kana Quest follow me @notdeaddesigner .

So Anyway. Have some images and gifs of Kana Quest’s progress.

Kq4

This one is showing off the new background for Kana Quest. The final game with have a background with the same level of polish for each world.

CuteKanaAllWell for some reason it lets me have this gif. Whatever. This shows of me redesign of the Kana tiles to give them all a bit of personality, as well as a backdrop for the puzzles so its easy to see the puzzles with the new background.

NewLevelLayoutIn this one I have added a new UI above the puzzle to improve visibility, changed the formerly red tiles (non moving tiles) to be stone tiles, and I’ve changed the beat level anim to be more instantaneous.

NewRestartButtonGif

In this one I’ve changed to UI ontop of the puzzle as playtesters wanted a restart button and an undo button.

NewEnglishBacks

In this one I updated the backs of the Kana tiles to match the front. As you can see though the back of the stone tiles still don’t match up. Another big change in this one that might not be immediately noticeable is that I no longer have my pixels bunching and stretching so in other words from here on in we are pixel perfect 😀 😀

TutorialScriptTransitions

This one is showing off my new tutorial system. Some one who goes back to last year might remember that I spent a large amount of time making a tutorial script. I was basically forced to retire that script because it was hella inefficient. This one is way more efficient and elegant. Anyway I’ll have a lot more control over this script that the old one had.

And that’s about it. I will probably do updates once a week on Saturdays from now on and will go a lot more in depth of what I’ve been doing. What I want to do the coming week, problems I’ve been having and how I solved old problems.

Anyway take care all.

 

So I have been in Japan for the last year teaching English to Japanese kids. Now that I am back in Australia I am going to be focusing on making a bunch of work for my portfolio that I can use to get a job.

So for the last two days I have been working on making a tutorial script that I can use for any of the games that I make in the future (as well as games that I’m currently making). What the script will do is the designer will tell it how many events there are to be in the tutorial. Then select what type of events they will be. And then use the controls on the script to adjust the events for final use. You can see the user interface for the script below.

TutorialScriptScreenShot

The reason I am working on this script is that I have been working on a game that teaches the player to read Hiragana (the first of the three lettering systems in Japanese). And the rules are a little confusing at first. This means I need a good tutorial. And the only way to get a good tutorial is to iterate on it a lot. But previously I have been making the tutorial with scripts that only fitted that tutorial. Thus I would have to re-code the tutorial every time I wanted to change something.

This script will allow me to change my old tutorials quickly as well as make new tutorials.

Also, a quick afterword. I will make regular updates to this blog to document my progress. As a result there will be more work in progress type posts rather than finished product type posts in the future.

Theo