Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hey there, :D

It's been quite some time, right?

Reidy (from Evolonline) even told me this blog needed some news so here we go :D

Then, you'll ask me, what happened since September?
Well, first of all, a lot of things on Valyria Tear of course:

OpenGL 2.0 and SDL 2.0!

Mainly, and also thanks to some hard work from authenticate, Valyria Tear has finished its transition to SDL2, as he fixed text rendering when using the newest SDL_ttf version, and I added the screen resolution auto-detection with a fallback to hard coded ones when it failed, and VSync/Swap tearing support thanks to SDL2 functionalities.

authenticate also fully made the work to make Valyria Tear use the OpenGL 2.0 norm and added support to use shaders to first emulate fixed pipeline support, but this will later permit to add cool effects! :D

1.1 version on going:

As for other changes, development on the 1.1 version has fully started. This version will focus on refactoring as you have seen and add support to a new skill system permitting you to select where you want to put your strength when your characters level up. Work will also be done on rebalancing the game and add different difficulty levels, and a brand-new autosave system, permitting to make the game experience much more enjoyable. :)

What's new?

I first added support to trigger a dialogue in any game mode and added a tutorial dialogue in Flora's shop. I also started working on a offline manual that will serve as a template for the ingame one. (Still need some work but I'm not that far.).
The text scrolling is also now configurable and I made it muck quicker per default to avoid Confirm key bashing when playing.

I also upgraded the audio code so that the map music doesn't restart from the beginning when leaving a battle and keeps playing in battles when it is the same than the map.

Last but not least, work is now being done to simplify the scripting API, streamline it a bit and make it less error-prone for the scripter.

In term of internalization, thanks to alexanderkjall and eugeneloza, the game has also been translated into Swedish and Ukrainian. :)

Moonrise also made Ubuntu packages for Valyria Tear.

And this is not everything...

OpenDungeons has reached the 0.4.9 milestone after a year of work! It now has multiplayer support a new GUI and a rock-solid core gameplay. Go grab it and get in touch with the team if you need info! :D

Hero of Allacrost development has taken off again, and work on art and on the map editor is now being done as witnessed on their forums. :)

I wish you all a nice year's ending. See you in 2015!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Episode I Release!!

Heya, :D

Well, where to begin... I must say I have wished for this instant to happen since years now, and I'm very proud to say that the full Episode I of Valyria Tear is now released.

There has been quite some blood poured in it, and not only mine, far from that. ;)

So what has been accomplished you've been bothering us with it more or less every month since two years now?

Valyria Tear is a 2D J-RPG with an emphasize on the story and the music. See this as a love letter to the 2D RPGs people used to play in the 90s, when the developers didn't have all the graphical effects they wanted to, and focused more on the mood and the depths of the storyline and the music melodies to make their game appealing. Those were great times.

Valyria Tear is a fork from Hero of Allacrost - with a now half-rewritten and improved engine - as this open-source project was more or less the codebase I was dreaming of, was open-source, and was, sad to say, more or less abandoned by his leader, Roots.
I thank him and all his team for starting the effort though, and I hope that maybe one day someone will come back and have a go at telling us the Allacrost story. Some says I've killed Hero of Allacrost by forking it, some says I've saved it. Time will tell but the code lives on and people can play the game.

I would also take a line or two to thank everyone involved consciously or unconsciously in this project. To the people that helped me, implemented features, reviewed my sometimes stupid code tainted with coffee, suffered my comments, or simply played the game and reported bugs.

Even if many features are still in the making, Valyria Tear offers a complete game experience, with fully working maps, menus and battles and all the things you can expect from a classic:
- ~50 maps done.
- 18 32x32 Tilesets used (on the 25 prepared for what's next.)
- 2 and half playable characters. ;)
- 19 different encounterable enemies.
- A dozen NPCs, skills, spells, and different items.
- Status effects can be applied on characters and foes.
- Full joystick support.
- The game is fully translated in 6 languages, and more are incoming.
- Three UI themes.
- Main and secondary quests, hidden treasures and traps. ;)
- All in all, something like 7-10 hours of gameplay.
- ~140'000 lines of c++ code and lua script.
- And a lot more things I've forgotten...

I've also reworked a bit the story beginning based on feed-back to make the game more enjoyable, for instance by making the Orlinn's hide'n'seek quest optional when talking to Kalya once he is hidden.

This is nice and all but what's next?

The Episode II will focus on the second part of the story of course, but also:
- Adding a better skill system based on equipment and on Experience points, if all goes well, to give the player more strategical choices.
- Improving and refactoring all the bits that needed it.
- Introduced new playable characters and a new map mode. ;)
- Add more visuals in battles most notably when using skills, attacks and spells.
- A migration to SDL2 in order to offer better resolution support, and other improvements.

A parallel effort has also been started with Akien and Nemesis to rework the game balancing and make it more interesting at the beginning. If we don't have too much trouble, we'll release that part as soon as it is ready so you can enjoy it.

I hope you'll enjoy the game as much as I've enjoyed making it.

'till next time!! :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Episode I Release Candidate I Release

Hi there,

After almost one year of development, I'm proud to say the full Episode I Release Candidate I is now done. :D

Go grab it in the downloads!

This release is only a first candidate though. Would the testing and the translations go fine, the actual release should happen within August.

Thus, if you find any bugs or game glitches, feel free to report them in the bug tracker or on the forums.

Some translation is missing? Feel free to report it on the forums as well or better: help us translate Valyria Tear on Transifex!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Final Dungeon unlocked!

Hi there :)

A long time has flown away since the last piece of news but this time I didn't come here to tell about another delay.

You've read it right, the Episode I final dungeon is now unlocked on github.

I must say this has been quite a struggle to reach that point for me, and there is still a lot of things to polish in there, especially in term of missing sounds and music changes to fit the action mood.

The Episode I is also missing its very last conclusion map! But even if the episode 1 true ending is all I've been fighting for since last year when it comes to Valyria Tear, there is no point in keeping the last part locked anymore.

Hence, if you're brave enough to compile the beast and unleash your testing powers on it, feel free to dive in! :D

Feel also free to report bugs, comments and so on on the bug tracker or on the forums.

I sincerely hope you'll enjoy that part as much as I enjoyed making it.

Best regards, and stay tuned for the complete Episode Release which is officially "coming soon"* now. ;)

* within the limits of the available dev.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Four maps left...

Hi there, :)

The title tells almost everything.

At the time of writing, I'm currently four maps away from the Episode I's end.

Phew... almost there! Still there is a lot to do left, mostly in term of scripting... ;)
I won't spoil more and I can't wait to unlock the beast so you can enjoy the brand new dungeon.

As unrelated news, a few days ago, I fell on a case study on Video Game localization featuring Valyria Tear (!):

Woohoo, I don't know what the author(s) think(s) about my localization efforts but it is still cool to see the game noted as a reference somewhere. So, I'm officially thanking them(?) in doing that. :)

I've also noticed a few people complaining about the lack of translation completeness in the newest PtitSeb's unofficial release of Valyria Tear. Be no more sad, as the translation team has done a great work in filling the holes, and the game should be as playable as before in this area. PtitSeb will have to redo his release, though.

See you next time, for the Episode I RC1 release!!

Stay tuned! ;)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2nd floor

Hi everyone, :)

Here is what happened last month in Valyria Tear :

- The main effort is currently being made on adding the final part of this Episode I. The dungeon 1st floor is completely scripted, polished, ..., and 2nd floor is done by a quarter.
You shouldn't open this ...
This puts the dungeon part to be done at, roughly speaking, 60%

Monsters have been balanced also, even if still missing certain special attacks ;), and a lot of tweaking has been done to make it more lively.
New items have also been added to bring more variety, especially now that status effects are more fully supported.

Among other items, the 'Escape Smoke' will please the ones who wanted to flee from battles, for instance. ;)

- Translations
dimproject made a Russian translation update. :) And I've almost covered the french part about the latest additions.

- Development

Among a lot of misc bugfixes, and at very first, game options support has been added in the pause menu. I thank bmorel and SuiteCake for giving me the little nudge of motivation to make this happen. :)

This now means you will be able to change the language, the sound levels, and the video resolution, for instance, without quitting your current game. :)

This has still one limitation though, as the language change in dialogues will happen only after moving from the current map to another. The other texts should be translated right away, though.

bmorel also added support to change the text scrolling speed. (only manageable in the settings file, atm).

He also fixed warnings seen when compiling using clang and a bug in the procedural minimap creation code.

SuiteCake also helped by fixing some input mismanagement when using a joypad. This fixes certain lacks of updates when navigating in the menu mode.

The map stamina bar value will now be carried from one map to another. This means you no longer will start fresh about this when moving from one map to another, so beware about it. ;)

I also fixed for good the glitch sometimes seen on Bronann animation when winning (making him idle while he should run.)

Now that the very first trade offers have been added in game, this permitted me to check more thoroughly the trade conditions code and fix it.

Support to trigger an event when encountering an enemy has also been added. ;)

Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

In the middle ... of the second dungeon!

Hi everyone, :)

We're now in March, so what about a little summary of what has been done? ;)

- Story
  - Scripted several new events and redid a map. The overall dungeon is 40% done.
  - You'll now be able to do your very first trades! ;)

- Save point in the Layna village

First of all, after month of pressure (lol), I reached the point to my TODO-list where I had to deal with the problem people often had when starting the game.

One can't save the game as soon as they should be able to, and while it was a fun thing to put on in the early dev times for ancient reasons, I've now "fixed" that, by adding a save point right at the start of the game, changing a bit (and for the better) other dialogues in the way.
What's left about the save point problem, is the addition of a quick-save option that I'll add when at Episode II.
Note that I'll never permit to save anywhere, due to the possible ever-changing form of the map data, and to prevent you all to be stuck because of an ill-formed save game. I know the frustration I can cause and I won't allow that. ;)

- Active status effects full support!
Now, I must say half of this month has putting me busy with polishing again, and again the handling of active status effects (eg: such as poison from wounds) in the map mode, and their interactions between the menu and the battles.
I considered this overwhelming task now done! with the following new features ready in-game:

- Support to display active status effect in the menu mode

- Support to fully display status effects changes, heal and damage, in the map mode. This means status wounds you had in battles will follow you in the map mode and vice versa.

- Active status effect states are now saved in save games. This change is backward compatible, don't worry. :)

- Made character's agility slightly decreased for a few seconds in battles, when their map stamina is low.
This means your characters will be slower at battles beginning when the map stamina bar is in the red part. This may be give a bit more spice to it all. ;)

Thanks to new status effect support, status items can now be used on the menu as well, such as Elixirs, ...

I also started adding new items such a heal potions, and cure poison, but other ones are pending, eh eh.

Certain status skills now work in the menu as well, such as 'Shield'.

- Battles:
As for battles, I rewrote the battle item list handling to make it simpler and prevent the case where you can't select an item sometimes.

While on it, I added support to hint you about the skills/items description while in battle when pushing the menu key (S).

- i18n:
Galician, Italian Translation updates and some english text review happened thanks to Gallaecio and BioHazardX. :)

- Joystick support:
- Fixed selecting the language with a joystick when running the game for the first time, as pointed out by qubodup.
- Prevented quitting the game when pushing start using a X360 joypad on the boot menu, as pointed out by SuiteCake.

- Quests:
- Added support to show when a quest isn't completable anymore.

- Misc:
- Lot of bugfixes, such as preventing crash when using an ill-formed skill and fixes of many other glitches.
- Moved the art sources, useless to run the game, in another repository.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Three children and a dungeon...

Hi there, :)

As Jeff righteously noticed, this is time for some news about what has been done last month. ;)

The Mountain Shrine...

I'm still in the process of mapping and scripting the dungeon, added 4 new maps, and scripted the first one to something like 80%-90%.

Fortunately, the core of the effort has been done, as all the dungeon enemies left to add are now in the box. Many props were added, and lifing has been done to the battle background, the location image, and the maps themselves to make the dungeon start something looking suitable before moving on.

I can't spoil it that much but it's coming along :)

Map Editor

As maps are the main point of focus at the moment, I felt more and more convinced to improve the Map Editor and added the map resizing support to it, a very missing feature. ;)
I also made sure to decrease even more the editor dependencies and rebuilt a new Windows binary.
(For those willing to try it, see the downloads section)

Status effects

I also kept working on the last key feature of the Episode I: Active status effects are now stored in the global characters data (but not saved yet), and can now be displayed in the menu mode.
This feature is still disabled for now, as I still need to add support for status effects updates and display on the map mode before unleashing the beast.
To celebrate this, new items will then appear to fill your inventory. ;)

Battle Actions

I also fixed a long-standing glitch in character battle actions display. Sometimes, the battle skills chosen and their targets where overlapping in the battle command bar. It is now fixed, and while on it, I added support to display the currently selected skill icon to help hinting what is going on.
I also simplified a bit how the battle action texts are created and displayed.

English texts review

Some English sentences were checked for correctness some time ago, and I thank mmstick, astralchaos, and ibara for the effort done on it.
Hopefully, this kind of effort will keep on, and the original text will be reviewed for correctness from time to time. :)

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014