Let’s get this party(cule) started !

Apart from bringing an awful pun to your eyes, here is a quick update of what is going on in the team.

Our last article was an overview of one of our homegrown tools, helping us speed up the creation of maps for Alun Hevel. We still had to streamline the other part of the level design process, namely the enemy wave specifications. Writing these files by hand will soon be a thing of the past as Sempaï is hard at work making us a new tool for that purpose. It should become much more easier to quickly iterate in order to find a good difficulty balance. Adjusting the levels is a time-consuming task, and anything that helps us speeding things up is welcome. So look forward to getting a sneak peak at that tool soon. And while we are on the subject of tools, know that we have some preliminary plans for them further down the line. I cannot be more specific right now, but if things work out it will be a nice surprise. So stay tuned!

Keep your eyes peeled too for a forthcoming apparition of brand new tiles drawn by the expert hand of our graphist, Medea! She has produced a huge variety of tiles in her charming and detailled style, letting us depict a wide spectrum of environments. So don’t let yourself be fooled, you will see much, much more than green plains in the game…

Writer and GSM Productions member extraordinaire Ephy, whose novel serves as the setting for Alun Hevel, has also kept herself busy. Not only did she manage, thanks to a big push for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), to complete said novel (which you can find onher website [fr]), she also have been writing dialogs and story arc for Alun Hevel. We decided from the start to try and put an emphasis on the story. In a tower defense game. True story. But then we need to make sure said story is coherent, and hopefully interesting! And so we turned to our friend Ephy, and have taken her on board to provide us with a script worthy of the novel. Another thing to look forward to!

As for yours truly, I have been working on three things. First, we have decided to use an organisation system based on kanban, to help us track our progress better. I have put in place a digital whiteboard on which we can place our virtual post-it notes with the task that need to be done. It is still ugly, but it is getting better, and at least it is usable now. We really hope it will help us stay on track in regard to our goals. Managing to develop games while having a full-time job is tricky, so hopefully this tool will let us stay on target better. One of those target is to be able to release our game on IndieCity. That entails quite a bit of work to have Alun Hevel integrated with IndieCity’s APIs. But it is progressing, albeit slower than I would like. Still, IndieCity integration is very important for us, and a wrapper for their libraries in Python will help the other developers out there, so it’s a good thing.

Last but not least, I started experimenting with particles (the pun’s origin is now unveiled !) effect in the game interface. Currently, the build available on the website features some very… crude UI effects. White-ish rectangles serve as control highlights, and Starcraft-esque green circles inform you on the range of units. We would of course like to make things a little less garish, and I have been trying to use particles for those effects. It looks promising, and hopefully in a week or two I will be able to show a screenshot of those in action.

With that, I think I came to the end of this news report. Take care, and see you around !

Oh, yes, that is true… We now have a Google+ page! Encirle us !

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